Senior doctors of North Corp hospitals go on indefinite strike; Mayor says salaries 'due cleared'

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New Delhi, Oct 27 (PTI) Patients of North Corporation-run hospitals faced hardship as its senior doctors went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday, a day after they had gone on casual leave en masse over their pending salaries.

Maruti Sinha, general secretary of the Municipal Corporation Doctors' Association (MCDA), said that a meeting was held in the morning in the campus of the Hindu Rao Hospital where North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash, heads of the Indian Medical Association and the Delhi Medical Association, and the MCDA president were present.

In the afternoon, the mayor held a press conference with his counterpart from the east and south corporations, and later in a statement claimed that the 'NDMC (North Delhi Municipal Corporation) today cleared the due salaries of doctors up to September; of Safai Karamcharis and Domestic Breeding Checkers up to August this year, and of nurses up to July, and of health workers upto June'.

Sinha said, 'Salaries have not been credited, so our indefinite strike is still on'.

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 municipal corporations -- East Delhi Municipal Corporation and South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

Residents doctors of the Hindu Rao Hospital have been agitating over their pending salaries since the last week of September and by turns, five of their colleges have been sitting on a relay hunger strike for the past few days.

'Our salaries have not been credited, so our strike is also on. And, RDA-MCDA has not taken any decision on it yet,' said Abhimanyu Sardana, president of the Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) of Hindu Rao Hospital.

Other hospitals under the North Corporation include the Kasturba Hospital, Rajen Babu Tuberculosis Hospital, Mrs Girdhari Lal Maternity Hospital.

'We have about 700 doctors from the North Corporation hospital who are part of MCDA. We all went on mass casual leave in protest on Monday. And, even though our conscience doesn't allow, our doctors did not attend to patients even in emergency wards,' Sinha said.

Patients at Hindu Rao Hospital and other North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run facilities faced inconvenience as doctors struck work to press for their demands. Authorities may have taken services of contractual doctors, Sinha said.

Services were also hit on Monday when the senior doctors went on a mass casual leave and did not even attend to patients in the emergency department.

Meanwhile, resident doctors of Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital and associated hospitals on Tuesday held also symbolic protests to show solidarity with the protesting doctors of North Delhi Municipal Corporation run-hospitals.

Resident doctors of Safdarjung and RML hospitals held black-ribbon protest while the medics of Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital observed a pen-down symbolic protest in non-COVID and non-emergency areas on Tuesday.

Extending support to the protesting doctors of North Delhi Municipal Corporation run-hospitals, including Hindi Rao Hospital, the AIIMS RDA on Tuesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention and demanded that salaries be paid through the PM-CARES fund as 'temporary measures to heal the emotions of these warriors'.

Recently, the North Delhi Mayor had said that salary for the month of July had been released to doctors, but the protests continued.

Hindu Rao Hospital RDA had said that one month's salary was received by resident doctors, but MCDA president R R Gautam had said, 'Our doctors did not get that salary'. PTI KND SLB ANB ANB