Doctors' stir continues in Rajasthan



Doctors` stir continues in Rajasthan     Jaipur: The stalemate between the agitating doctors, who are on strike demanding pay hike and time-bound promotions, and the Rajasthan government continued for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday with government blaming "vested interests" for the stir.

A meeting of council of ministers was convened here at the chief minister's office today to discuss the situation.

It was attended by cabinet ministers, ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries present in the capital, a spokesperson said.

"The issue of the meeting was the doctors' strike, which has no genuine ground because what they are demanding has already fulfilled by the government in July this year. The government is not ready to address vested interest of some of their members so they are adamant," he said.

The medical crisis in the state deepened yesterday after 5,000 medicos submitted their resignations.

All the government doctors working in hospitals, dispensaries, primary health centres and resident doctors of all the six medical colleges are on strike since December 21.

Sources have said that due to unavailability of medical assistance, around a dozen patients have lost their lives so far.

The state government is blaming "vested interest" for the strike.

In July this year, the government had assured them to hike their pay grades equivalent to central government employees, time-bound promotions and has also released orders for the same, but despite that they have some vested interest, he said.

"They are demanding multiple jumps in promotion and pay scale which would benefit certain doctors who are going to retire, and it is not possible for the government to fulfil," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the government has made best possible efforts to keep situation under control and engaged retired doctors and sought services from the Army, BSF, railway authorities.

An official claimed that out of 6,441 in-service 473 have not joined the strike.

"The government has recently recruited 570 doctors out of them, 327 have joined the duty. 473 government doctors out of total 6,441 in-service did not join the strike and are working," the official claimed.

"So far, 361 doctors have been arrested in parts of the state. Out of them, 285 were arrested under RESMA and rest under different sections," an official said.

According to the official, the government has so far suspended 25 doctors for remaining absent from the duty.

Defence spokesperson SD Goswami said that the Army has made available services today to people in the state.

Two teams have been sent to Jaipur and services are also being provided to civilians at military hospitals in Alwar and Bikaner, he said.

On the other hand, medical services remained crippled and patients were unattended in most of the hospitals.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot directed officials to initiate the recruitment process of 1,000 doctors from Monday.

Gehlot reviewed the situation and appreciated the services of 2,800 doctors and nursing staff of Ayurveda department at the time of stir.

On the other hand, sources in the health department have indicated that the death toll due to the doctors strike in the state may cross 20.

However, there is no record available, and no one in the government had given official information about the deaths which occurred due to non-availability of medical assistance.

PTI