Districts offer big salaries for specialists

Ballari is offering ₹4 lakh a month

Reluctance of medical professionals, especially specialists, to work in COVID-19 hospitals in rural areas, has compelled administrations across Kalyana Karnataka region to offer eye-popping salaries.

For instance, the Ballari administration has issued a notification offering ₹4 lakh a month for physicians/ and anaesthetists, and ₹1 lakh a month for MBBS doctors. It plans to recruit 20 physicians/ pulmonologists, 15 anaesthetists, and 30 MBBS doctors on a temporary basis for 11 months, for a 1,000-bed hospital in the district.

JSW Steel, one of the biggest steel manufacturers in India, has built this dedicated COVID-19 hospital, with 300 oxygen beds, at Toranagal in Ballari district. As per the understating between the steel giant and the district administration, the JSW Steel built the hospital and put all the required equipment and machinery in place and the staff has to be recruited by the district administration.

“The salaries offered by the Ballari district administration are far higher than the market prices. Salaries in private hospitals for specialists range from ₹1.5 lakh to ₹2 lakh in normal circumstances. During the pandemic, the salaries for the specialists have gone up to ₹3 lakh at the most. The reluctance on the doctors to work in COVID-19 facilities is the reason for rising salaries,” said Vikram Siddareddy, Chairman and Managing Director of United Hospital, Kalaburagi.

When contacted, Ballari Deputy Commissioner Pavan Kumar Malapati said that the administration was under pressure to make use of the newly built hospital in the face of a growing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

“A week ago, we issued a notification and an advertisement in many newspapers offering ₹ 2.5 lakh for physicians/pulmonologists and anaesthetists. But nobody showed interest. That is why we had to revise the salary offerings,” Mr. Malapati told The Hindu.

The situation is similar in other districts of the region also. The Kalaburagi administration had recently called for a walk-in interview for medical professionals to work in its COVID-19 health facilities offering ₹80,000 for specialists and ₹60,000 for MBBS doctors. However, only five doctors joined so far. “We need more doctors to work in our COVID-19 health facilities and we are not able to get them for the salaries we are offering,” Kalaburagi Deputy Commissioner Vijaya Jyothsna said.

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