With the doctors at Sir Sunder Lal (SSL) Hospital, attached to the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS)-Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, continuing on strike since Sunday with the demand of raising the status of IMS-BHU to that of All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the BHU administration has decided to close down the IMS on Saturday and Sunday.
All the department heads of the IMS-BHU have been asked to ensure presence of teachers and other personnel in the hospital. The leaves of all the teachers have been cancelled.
Dr Kartik Goel, a representative of the Resident Doctors’ Association, said, “Although it almost coincided with the state-wide strike against the attack on doctors in Kanpur, our issue is an old one. We have been trying to get the University authorities to act fast on the proposal of upgrading IMS to AIIMS status. We will continue on strike as the administration has so far not come up with any concrete steps towards the same. They have also not talked to us.”
The administration claimed that the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Lalji Singh, has set the process in motion and wrote a letter on March 7 to the Centre in this regard. The administration has already issued several appeals to the striking doctors asking them to return to work.
On saturday, the BHU administration claimed that the services at the IMS OPD are going on smoothly and operations are also being conducted. They also claimed that a delegation of students from other streams like arts, management and Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) met the Chief Proctor and handed over a memorandum in which the administration was urged to take action against the striking doctors, if they did not return to work within 48 hours.
On March 1, the inmates of Dhanvantari hostel, which houses doctors, and Lal Bahadur Shastri hostel, which houses students from various streams, had clashed over an Internet connection. The V-C had formed a five-member committee to identify the culprits. Apart from cross cases, the Chief Proctor has lodged an FIR in the matter.