After 24 days of a relentless protest that escalated to a six-day long relay hunger strike , doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital in New Delhi called off their strike on Wednesday evening after MCD decided to release all their pending dues.
“The question is, If MCD had sufficient funds to pay the healthcare workers, why did they lock the salaries for months?” asked Dr Arun Gupta, President, Delhi Medical Council.
The doctors of North MCD-run hospitals had started an agitation for days over their pending salaries, and the response from MCD to both the doctors and the press was that there are no funds. In fact, the mayors staged a dharna outside Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence on October 26 over the fund crunch, claiming that Rs 13,000 crore in total was due to the three corporations from the Delhi government.
In a statement, the North MCD said the urban development minister assured the mayors of clearing all pending dues in 10 days. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, however, claimed that the municipal corporations were leveling baseless allegations against the Delhi government. They were putting up hoardings around the city which proves there was no dearth of funds with BJP-run civic bodies. He asked the civic bodies to function properly and pay salaries on time or handover the responsibility to the Delhi government for effective operations.
“Political clash between two parties should not affect the doctors or patients. The MCD accepted all demands of protesting doctors but if they had funds, why did they not pay salaries to healthcare workers till now? Why did they humiliate the doctors? This lackadaisical response reflects mismanagement in the MCD,” said Dr Harjit Singh, president of the Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum.
RDA President of Hindu Rao hospital, Abhimanyu Sardana, said, “The strike has been called off and all doctors will return to duty with immediate effect. Our issues were earnestly addressed and affirmed.”
As doctors resume work at the Hindu Rao and other MCD hospitals, the medical fraternity is asking that the accountability be fixed in order to avoid future tussle.