Maharashtra government doctors on strike for third day

Mumbai, April 25 (IANS) Around 3,500 resident doctors in government hospitals in the state continued their strike for the third day and plan to start parallel Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) for the benefit of poor patients, a top office-bearer said Thursday.

“The strike continues as of now. From today (Thursday), we shall run parallel OPDs to ensure that poor and needy patients are not adversely affected,” Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) president Santosh Wakchaure told IANS.

Asked whether the MARD decision could violate Wednesday’s Bombay High Court order, Wakchaure said the order pertained to a public interest litigation filed against an MARD agitation a few months ago.

“It does not pertain to the current agitation,” Wakchaure said.

The Bombay High Court Wednesday ordered resident doctors in government hospitals across the state to call off their two-day strike immediately.

Wakchaure said Wednesday night that MARD would study the court order before taking a final decision.

Nearly 3,500 medicos, including 2,000 in Mumbai, working in 14 government hospitals around the state, have struck work since Tuesday to press for their demands, which include higher stipend and better working conditions.

Giving their ruling in a public interest litigation filed by social activist A. Mandaviya, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M.S. Sanklecha expressed satisfaction that the state government had taken sufficient steps to resolve the doctors’ grievances.

The court asked the doctors to call off their protest.

The medicos, who get a stipend of Rs.31,000, have been offered Rs.36,000; but the doctors are demanding Rs.41,000.

Apparently hitting back, Wakchaure said that the government has started serving notices on striking doctors to vacate their official quarters in various hospitals and medical colleges.

The government has also warned the doctors that they could face action under the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act if they failed to return to duty in the interest of thousands of patients.

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