New Delhi: Hours after the Delhi government invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against them, resident doctors in the national capital called off their two-day long strike late on Tuesday night.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain tweeted late on Tuesday night announcing that the strike had ended. "Resident doctors' strike called off," Jain tweeted.
ESMA had been invoked against the striking doctors on Tuesday after they defied the Delhi government's deadline to normalise the functioning of the hospitals run by it. The strike had crippled healthcare services in government-run hospitals across the city.
The Delhi government had accepted all demands of the doctors on Day one of the strike, but despite that, doctors had refused to return to work on Tuesday. Nearly 20,000 doctors had gone on a strike demanding more security at the workplace, adequate life-saving and generic drugs and drinking water facilities.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also intervened in the matter accepting the demands of the doctors while adding that there was no need for a strike.
Jain had also said that the government "accepted demands" put forth by the striking doctors during parleys between the two sides. "During the meeting, they made five more demands which, too, were accepted and (we) also circulated the minutes of the meeting," added Jain.
Talking about the doctors' demands, he said that a major concern was over security and he had met the Delhi Lt Governor seeking police cover at government hospitals. "Security was a major concern, so I met the Lt Governor seeking security arrangements at government hospitals. The Lt Governor has ordered Delhi Police to provide adequate security at the hospitals," Jain said.
He added that he will review the situation in this regard after three months along with the doctors. "Certain demands - like increasing hospital beds - cannot happen in three months. We are working on increasing beds in hospitals and also constructing new ones, which will take some time," Jain said, adding that he has already asked the health department to strengthen emergency services.
"Most of the medicines are available and 100 per cent medicines will be available by August 15," he said.
The health department had on Monday accepted all demands of the striking resident doctors and ordered them to resume their work by 11 am on Tuesday. However, the doctors continued with the strike demanding concrete measures as they claimed that the "government has in the past given similar assurances but failed to deliver".
Government doctors launched an indefinite strike yesterday demanding adequate stocks of life-saving drugs, security at the workplace and timely payment of salaries, etc. With the doctors staying away from duty, citizens visiting government hospitals had a harrowing time as the out patient department (OPD) and ward services were affected by the strike.