Lucknow: The state-wide employees strike in Uttar Pradesh, on its seventh day, entered a critical phase Monday with employees announcing stalling of medical services.
Employee unions announced that if their demands were not met by the state government, they would hit the medical service one by one.
Keeping up with their earlier announcement, the employees have shut the Ophthalmology departments across government hospitals.
An union leader said that no eye tests would be conducted in the state-run hospitals from now on and added that from Nov 19, all out patient departments (OPDs) will also join the strike.
The leader added that the pathology departments and all nurses unions will join the strike from from Nov 20 and Nov 21 respectively.
Meanwhile, the state government firmed up its position and said that it will not bow to unjustified demands of the employees.
Health minister Ahmad Hasan said the state government will not, under any circumstances, give in to the unjust demands of the state employees.
The Akhilesh Yadav-led government is also mulling invoking of ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act).
Rajiv Kumar, principal secretary (Appointments) said while efforts were on to "make striking employees see reason and return to work, the option of ESMA was wide open".
Principal secretary (Health) Pravir Kumar said alternate arrangements were being made to ensure that the strike does not affect medical services in the state-run hospitals and medical facilities.
A government spokesman, meanwhile, also rejected reports that there were any financial losses owing to the ongoing strike.
Principal secretary (Commercial Tax) Beeresh Kumar said since the revenue collection was largely online and e-payment facilities were available, there was no revenue loss to the government due to the strike.
However, officials admitted that due to the strike, work at Tehsil`s had been badly hit and that work of registration of properties was affected.
Prisons minister and state spokesman of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), Rajendra Chowdhary said the state government was ready for talks with the striking employees.
"The striking employees must trust the honest and goodwill of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for them and must return to work," he said in a statement.
Striking employee leaders said there was no official communication from the state government and added that they will settle for nothing short of a direct meeting with the chief minister.
President of the Rajya Karmachari Adhikar Manch, Ajay Singh said that they were not averse to discussions but the government must make an honest move in this direction.
"During the rule of Mulayam Singh Yadav too, he had patiently heard out our problems and we had withdrawn our strike," Ajay Singh added.