August 10, 2021 12:40:41 am
Several resident doctors on strike in the state for the last five days on Monday decided to return their ‘Covid Warrior’ certificates claiming officials have asked them to vacate hostels and disconnected water and power supply even as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani urged the medicos to call off the protest and honour the bond agreement.
“There are hardly any coronavirus patients in the hospitals at present. When cases were at their peak, we had introduced a scheme wherein one day of Covid duty was considered equivalent to two days of the bond service. Now, since there are no coronavirus cases, doctors must honour the bond agreement. I urge them to end the strike and join duties as per the bond,” Rupani told reporters in the Narmada district.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Monday reiterated that “the state shall not accept their illegal demands.”
At least 2,000 resident doctors, most of who recently finished their post-graduate courses, went on strike on August 4 evening, mainly over the issue of the bond service period and demanding emoluments as per the 7th Pay Commission.
These doctors belong to government-run medical colleges in Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Jamnagar.
According to a protesting doctor, Rajkot government medical college’s doctors already returned the certificates which were granted to those who served on Covid-19 duty in the past year, and others from the remaining five colleges will follow suit. The certificates were given as a token of appreciation as part of the Doctors’ Day celebration this year on July 1.
“When we went to Gandhinagar a few days back to meet top officials, we were asked to show proof of our work during the coronavirus pandemic. This ‘Covid Warrior’ certificate given by the government is the biggest proof that we worked day and night for patients without thinking twice about ourselves” said a protesting doctor in Rajkot.
“Authorities have asked the protesting doctors to vacate hostels. Water and electricity connections were also cut. Women doctors were forced to spend the night outside. This is nothing but an insult. Thus, several doctors have decided to return those certificates which hailed us as Covid Warriors” she said.
Deputy CM Patel said doctors need to be practical and should first join duties before coming to the negotiation table.
“One should not remain adamant when something is illegal. Doctors need to adopt a more practical approach and follow rules. I have already asked them to first end their strike and join their respective duties. We will consider their plea for transfer to a place of their choice only after they join their allocated duties first,” Patel said.
Patel, who also holds the health portfolio, added that those protesting are no longer medical students, but have graduated from their courses and thus there is “no reason for them to stay in hostels”. The office of the dean of the Jamnagar and Vadodara government medical colleges had last week issued notices to the protesting doctors, curtailing access to hostels, either by way of disconnecting water and electricity supply or by asking the doctors to vacate the premises immediately.
Refuting Patel’s claim, a resident doctor from BJ Medical College said that the strike is not only by bonded doctors who have passed out from their respective degrees, but also includes first year, second year and third year students of post-graduate degree, as well as medical interns.
A July 27, 2020 government resolution by the Gujarat health department stipulated that the duration for which medically-bonded doctors serve in COVID19 notified hospitals will be considered as double the time served under rural tenure. This government resolution was however withdrawn on July 31. Over 2,000 resident doctors of six medical colleges are demanding that the medical bond duty be considered in the ratio of 1:2, that is one day of service be counted equivalent to service of two days in this period of the pandemic.
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