The Delhi government Friday invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and declared as ‘illegal’ the strike by nurses in government hospitals.
Nearly 20,000 nurses of hospitals run by the Delhi and central governments are participating in the strike.
In a statement, the government said, “All the categories of regular nurses have gone on an indefinite strike since morning. Due to the strike, most routine operations were cancelled… OPD timings were curtailed and emergency services were also affected. As a large number of fever cases have been reported… the strike by nurses at this juncture will cause immense hardships for patients who need emergency care and treatment.”
The Union Ministry of Health also issued directions to ensure that the nurses’ strike does not affect healthcare services.
“Therefore, the Lt Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, in exercise of powers conferred upon him under Section 3, read with Section 4A of the Haryana Essential Services Maintenance Act 1974 (Haryana Act No. 40 of 1974), as extended to the National Capital Territory of Delhi vide Govt. of India, Ministry of Home Affairs Notification No. GSR 526(E) dated 30/07/1993, has declared the above-said services as essential services in public interest and prohibited the strike by nurses of government hospitals and other medical facilities in National Capital Territory of Delhi for a period of six months,” stated the communication.