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Gujarat: Govt blinks as doctors call off protest after more than a week

As part of their bond service or residency for the 2021-passouts, they will be deputed to district hospitals, sub-district hospitals and community health centres and shall receive stipend equivalent to senior residency stipend.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
August 13, 2021 3:02:11 am
The state over the past week had deployed multiple pressure tactics to force the resident doctors to withdraw their strike. (File Photo)

After more than a week of protests by resident doctors across six government medical colleges in Gujarat, the state government on Thursday agreed to consider one year of residency equivalent to one year of bond service only for the post-graduate batch completing their degree or diploma in 2021.

The additional director of medical education in the health department, Dr Raghavendra Dixit, on Thursday in a communication to the deans of the six government medical colleges in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar, stated that the decision comes on the back of the strike by the doctors and repeated representations made by them to the state to this effect.

The communication noted that the exemption will only be applicable for those who were admitted to the PG three-year degree course in 2018 and those admitted to PG two-year diploma course in 2019 and are bound by the medical bond, provided they have fulfilled their academic requirements by 2021, that is passed their courses successfully.

As part of their bond service or residency for the 2021-passouts, they will be deputed to district hospitals, sub-district hospitals and community health centres and shall receive stipend equivalent to senior residency stipend.

The communication further clarified that the exemption is being granted under the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic and is only applicable for the PG degree or diploma course passouts of 2021.

The communication also stated that the earlier order “issued to resident doctors to evacuate hostels during the strike, be now withdrawn.”

The state over the past week had deployed multiple pressure tactics to force the resident doctors to withdraw their strike. From threatening with “strict proceedings” under the Epidemic Diseases Act, the state had then followed with notices in Jamnagar and Vadodara government medical colleges directing resident doctors to empty out hostel accommodation forthwith as well as disconnecting water and electricity supply in their hostels.

The office of the dean of BJ Medical College in Ahmedabad affiliated to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on Thursday also issued a notice to protesting intern doctors, warning of not granting the internship completion certificate if they do not join back on duty forthwith.

The notice from the dean’s office stated that following orders received in a virtual meeting with the additional chief secretary of health Manoj Aggarwal and health commissioner Jai Pakash Shivhare, “if intern students take part in the ongoing strike then students doing their internship shall not receive internship completion certificate and MBBS students will not be granted their term, thus all students are informed to not take part in the strike and immediately join back on duty.”

As of Thursday evening, all six colleges where intern doctors, junior and senior resident doctors and others, who had been on strike from work owing to pending demands, withdrew the strike.

While on Wednesday, the resident doctors on strike since seven days, had partially resumed duties following indication from the state government that it is willing to address “valid demands of genuinely aggrieved resident doctors,” the Junior Doctors’ Association had later decided to go back on strike after the state refused to consider residency period as a substitute for medical bond service for three batches of 2018, 2019 and 2020.

After resident doctors from four of the six colleges observed the strike on Thursday, the state issued the communication by Thursday evening.

Welcoming the move, Junior Doctors’ Association of BJMC in a statement said, “This has occurred for the first time in the history of Gujarat… The government has also assured us that a committee to decide on provisions for 2019 and 2020 batch will be formed. No stipend or leave will be deducted for absence during strike… JDA BJMC is officially calling off strike from now onwards.”

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