The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday demanded that the North Delhi Municipal Corporation immediately pays the doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital their pending wages while terming non-payment of salaries for the last three months an “unfortunate situation" and a “new low in governance". Senior doctors of NDMC-run hospitals went on a day-long casual leave en masse on Monday as the crisis over pending salaries of medics of civic-run facilities deepened with no resolution in sight.
In a statement on the issue titled ‘Banana Republic’, the IMA said healthcare workers, especially doctors, are a national asset and their “humiliation by denying" legitimate salaries is nothing but “state-sponsored violence". “The IMA takes serious exception to the unfortunate situation in Hindu Rao Hospital which is under the management of Delhi Municipal Corporation. It sends a wrong message to the profession and the nation.
“It demoralises the entire doctor community. If their services are so dispensable during a pandemic, something is certainly rotten in the way we are governed. It is a new low in governance," alleged the doctors’ body which represents around 3.5 lakh medicos across the country. The Supreme Court had specifically directed that salaries of doctors and healthcare workers should be paid in time. It seems the writ of the highest court of the land does not bind these officials who administer these hospitals, the IMA said in the statement.
“The IMA and the medical profession trust that there is adequate reason for the court to initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against the administration of Hindu Rao Hospital. Only such a strong response could restore faith in our institutions. The IMA demands that the authorities should pay the salaries of the doctors along with the dues immediately," it said. The crisis over the pending salaries has deepened as five of the resident doctors of the 900-bed Hindu Rao Hospital are sitting on a hunger strike since Friday with the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) saying the step was taken as no one is resolving the issue of their pending salaries.
Meanwhile, IMA chief Dr Rajan Sharma said rhetorically whether “doctors should turn into Naxalites to claim their right to be paid". “It’s a shame that at a time when the pandemic is raging, the doctors are forced to hit the streets, hold placards at places like Jantar Mantar and Connaught Place to highlight their plight," he said.
Resident doctors of the hospital on Sunday took their protest to the streets as they demonstrated at Connaught Place against non-payment of salaries and later burnt an effigy of Ravana on the premises of the facility to draw attention to their plight.