100 striking doctors, paramedic staff in Delhi move agitation to Jantar Mantar

Around 100 doctors and paramedic staff from three North Corporation-run hospitals — Hindu Rao, Kasturba Gandhi and Rajan Babu hospital — who were on a “partial strike” for the past 18 days demanding their pending salaries, moved to Jantar Mantar on Thursday.

The protesters threatened to sit on a relay hunger strike if their demands are not heard. They said they have been on a partial strike because they don’t want patients to suffer, but if they are not paid their dues even this month, they will be forced to go on a complete strike. The doctors were holding a three-hour pen-down strike every day for the last 18 days.

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Shouting slogans against the BJP-ruled municipal corporation, the agitating doctors and paramedics demanded their basic right to be paid for their work. They were last paid in June.

“We are just asking for our dues. How are we expected to keep working without being paid for months? How are we supposed to run our houses? We have been on Covid-19 duty risking our lives and are still not being paid,” said Dr Abhimanyu Sardana, president, resident doctors association, Hindu Rao Hospital.

The paramedic staff of nurses and technicians said they have been running their houses on loans from moneylenders or friends. “Everyone has easy monthly instalments or rents to pay. We have been forced to come out on strike, as we have run out of our savings. This has gone on for so long yet there’s no assurance as to when we will get our dues,” said Santosh Singh, a nursing staff at Kasturba Hospital.

The cash-strapped civic body had earlier this month said it didn’t have enough funds and had sought time till November-end to pay off the dues. Services at the hospitals have been affected because of the strike.

North MCD mayor Jai Prakash did not immediately respond to a request for comments. The copy will be updated when the mayor responds.

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