Senior doctors of North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run hospitals and other civic facilities are set to go on an “indefinite strike” from Monday over the issue of non-payment of salaries and arrears, their association said on Thursday. The decision was taken by the Municipal Corporation Doctors’ Association (MCDA) in its general body meeting on Thursday, its president Dr R R Gautam said, adding, emergency services will not be affected.
The MCDA, an association of senior permanent doctors of civic hospitals, was established in 1974 and has about 1,200 members. It also includes doctors from hospitals run by the other two — east and south — municipal corporations. Doctors of the SDMC and EDMC are not part of this indefinite strike which “we have planned to resort to from Monday”, Gautam said.
“Our salaries were due for September and October. On November 17, a letter was sent to the NDMC commissioner apprising him about the difficult situation that we doctors are facing. Yesterday, our salary for September was released,” Gautam said. If the due salary for October is released, MCDA members will not go on strike, he said.
“However, our demands also include release of arrears, and DA (dearness allowance) enhancement, among others,” he added. Doctors under the banner of MCDA had gone on strike in October last year, which had stretched for several days.
However, the strike was called off by MCDA following a “written agreement” among the civic authorities, RDA of Hindu Rao Hospital and MCDA that timely payment of salaries will be done in future, Gautam claimed. “the payment of salaries for the last two months, North MCD has failed to honour the agreement, hence we are free to call for strike of doctors,” the November 17 letter by the MCDA to the commissioner had said.
“We may be informed whether our salaries, arrears and DA enhancement will be done only after observing the routine ritual of complete strike by doctors, thereby putting the general public to extreme inconvenience or will they be disbursed without resorting to such extreme measures,” it said. In such a scenario, the onus of strike shall lie with the authorities and not with the MCDA, the letter had said.
Six civic hospitals are under the NDMC, including Hindu Rao Hospital, Kasturba Hospital, Mrs Girdhari Lal Maternity Hospital, and several dispensaries and polyclinics.