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Thursday, December 03, 2020

As MCD-Delhi govt fund tussle plays out, doctors across hospitals to protest today

Several doctors in hospitals run by the civic body have not been paid in three months and have been protesting for the past two weeks.

Written by Ananya Tiwari | New Delhi | Updated: October 27, 2020 6:05:42 am
Mayors of the three corporations protest outside the residence of CM Kejriwal, Monday morning. (Amit Mehra)

Resident doctors of several hospitals across the city have decided to hold a protest Tuesday in support of doctors working in North MCD-run hospitals over the issue of pending salaries. OPD functioning in hospitals is expected to be hit.

Five doctors of Hindu Rao hospital have been on a hunger strike since Friday. Dr R Gautam, president of the Municipal Corporation Doctors Association, said doctors in the North MCD-run hospitals will go on an indefinite strike starting Tuesday, unless they are paid. While doctors at Lok Nayak and GTB hospitals, both Covid facilities, will hold a black ribbon protest, resident doctors at Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Bhagwan Mahavir, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, ABVIMS Dr RML and Sanjay Gandhi Memorial hospitals will hold a ‘pen-down’ protest between 10 am and noon.

Several doctors in hospitals run by the civic body have not been paid in three months and have been protesting for the past two weeks. On Monday, all doctors in these hospitals went on a mass leave as a mark of protest.

By evening, a resolution seemed in sight, with mayors of the three MCDs — north, east and south — meeting Health Minister Satyendar Jain to resolve the issue. Doctors, however, said they will not call off the strike unless there is a permanent solution.

While corporations have alleged in the past that they were not able to pay salaries because the Delhi government owed them money, the latter has denied the charge, saying they were the ones owed money and that they had cleared all dues.

Drama ensued through the day, with the mayors sitting outside the CM’s house, demanding a meeting with him. The CM, however asked Jain to meet them, who said the mayors had not turned up for the meeting.

A meeting between Jain and the mayors finally took place late evening, after which the health minister said: “I have told the mayors that the Centre owes them Rs 12,000 crore, which it has not given to local bodies in Delhi for 10 years. The MCDs also owe Rs 6,000 crore to the Delhi government… If they say we owe them some funds, we are ready to pay that… Shortage of funds in the MCDs is due to corruption but they say there is no corruption…”

The mayors, however, told The Indian Express after the meeting that the government had assured them funds would be transferred within 7-10 days. South MCD Mayor Anamika Singh told The Indian Express Monday night, “They have told us the government will release funds within 7 days. They have finally understood our pain but kept us waiting for so long. They accuse MCD of theft, forgetting AAP is also part of the municipal corporations.” North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash said, “Delhi government has said they will clear the funds in 7-10 days. We are demanding Rs 13,000 crore, but at least they can pay some amount right now, so that the backlog of the salaries can be cleared.”

Earlier in the day, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said at a press conference the Delhi government had been reducing the corporation’s share in revenue. “In 2012-13, the Congress government gave 17.6% of its share. Now it is 12.5%. During the pandemic, they slashed it further,” he alleged. As per recommendations of the Fifth Delhi Finance Commission — which looked at devolution of funds by the Delhi government to civic bodies — the grant to MCDs has been enhanced from 10.5% to 12.5% of the net tax receipts

Meanwhile, AAP MCD in-charge Durgesh Pathak said the corporation should reach out to the Centre for the funds owed to it. “They are supposed to pay Rs 488 per person to respective municipalities as per the 14th Finance Commission. As per Delhi’s population, this is Rs 1,150 crore per year, and for last 10 years, the Centre owes around Rs 12,000 crore to Delhi’s MCDs. But they have never reached out to the Centre for this,” he alleged.


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