Chandigarh: The two-day strike call given by a body representing a large number of government doctors in Punjab to protest against recent transfers evoked a mixed response on its first day on Monday, official sources said.
According to state health officials, health services were only partially affected at primary health centres and civil hospitals, although the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMS), the body leading the stir, claimed that the strike has had a deeper impact.
"All the doctors are present at the centres, but they are not working. The strike is on successfully and will continue tomorrow as well," said Dr Harish Bhardwaj, the PCMS vice-chairman.
However, he was contradicted by Dr Ashok Nayyar, the director of state health services, who told PTI that the strike has been minimal in its impact.
"There has been only a partial impact in some areas, but by and large things are functioning normally.
"We have also made alternative arrangements to ensure that health services do not suffer," Nayyar said.
He further added: "We are in touch with the (striking) doctors that they must... Bring to our notice any genuine cases where they feel transfers have been unjustified. We are hopeful that they will call off the strike soon."
PCMS is protesting against the state government move last Tuesday to transfer 523 specialist doctors across the state.
The state government maintains that the sole aim behind the transfers was to strengthen health services and provide specialist care at 100 designated facilities in Punjab.
Meanwhile, state health minister Madan Mohan Mittal is learnt to have issued instructions to officials to ensure that emergency services function smoothly regardless of the strike.
He has also asked for a control room to be set up at the health directorate to monitor the situation and take corrective steps as and where needed, officials added.