Almost 1,200 doctors working under the zila parishads in rural dispensaries of Punjab will strike work from August 1,members of the Rural Medical Service Association (RMSA) said on Tuesday. They added that the strike was being organised to protest against the manipulation by the Punjab health department on their share in the post graduate quota seats in the three government medical colleges of the state.
We will work from August 1; from July 21 we will stop reporting to the health department. We will not send any reports or give data to the health authorities, said RMSA president Dr Aslam Parvez. Rejecting the health departments offer to absorb rural doctors into the regular Punjab Civil Medical Service,the RMSA accused the department of having manipulated rural doctors into postponing their strike and bought time to move against them in the Supreme Court.
The RMSA is demanding a share in the 60 per cent reserved quota in the post graduation seats for government doctors in the three medical colleges,a claim that has been strengthened by a High Court order in its favour. RMSA president Dr Aslam Parvez said the association was sent a message for negotiations. We were told that the chief minister has asked the department to intervene and bring about a settlement. Once the talks began,however,the health department moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order that went in our favour. The department also asked the university to start the counselling process, Dr Aslam said adding that the health department was keeping the CMO in the dark about these developments.
Rural medical officers work in peripheral rural areas and a share in the 60 per cent PG quota is our right as we are having purely rural jobs. The shifting of rural doctors from Rural Health Cadre under Panchayati Raj to Health department will definitely undermine the importance of the Rural health cadre and will be treated inferior to the PCMS which is not so. The rural medical officers in no way are under-qualified or unqualified. So the rural doctors should be treated at par with PCMS doctors, added Dr JP Narula state senior vice-president of RMSA.
All the rural medical officers who fulfil the criteria for the entrance for PG quota should be made eligible. The rural medical officer who clears the entrance and is eligible in any category and takes admission in any state medical college under the PG quota should be transferred or posted in the health department and given salary at same conditions as applied to the PCMS doctors and bond should be signed with the rural medical officer to bound them to work as specialists in the health department as there are no specialist posts in the rural cadre formed under Panchayati Raj,with the seniority and pay protection, added Dr Manish Gupta,state press secretary.