May 12, 2020 5:47:50 am
As the city battles Covid-19 cases, healthcare workers at North MCD hospitals, polyclinics and maternity homes allege that they have not been paid for at least two months.
North MCD Commissioner Varsha Joshi confirmed that junior resident doctors, nursing officers, and some other medical staff were last paid salaries for February. An MCD official said, “They received their February salary in the first week of May.”
Hospitals such as Hindu Rao, Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases, Kasturba Hospital, Girdhari Lal Maternity Hospital and Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis fall under the North MCD, as do 21 dispensaries, 63 maternity and child welfare centres, 17 polyclinics and 7 maternity homes. The North MCD employs at least 1,000 senior doctors, 500 resident doctors, and 1,500 nursing officers.
An MCD officer said that while nurses and junior resident doctors have been paid till February, senior doctors were last paid for the month of January.
Dr R R Gautam, who works at Girdhari Lal Hospital and also heads the Municipal Corporation Doctors Association, said, “On the one hand you glorify us as Covid-19 warriors, on the other hand, our salaries are delayed for three months. This is the most basic need of healthcare workers at a time like this. People have to pay for their children’s education or if someone in the family falls sick… We will end up spending our savings too. At a vulnerable time like this, no one will lend us money.”
The Association has written to the Prime Minister, seeking his intervention. “In the present situation, the only option left for our doctors is to resign en masse under protest but this association is very confident that with your timely intervention, such an avoidable situation will not arise at all,” the letter states.
According to a senior MCD official, salaries are delayed due to shortage of funds: “This is due to non-implementation of the 5th Delhi Finance Commission recommendations which included special package for hospitals. The issue of salary is constantly being pursued with the Delhi government and all salaries are released as soon as funds are given to us by them.”
This has been a long-standing conflict between the BJP-led MCDs and AAP-led Delhi government — corporations accuse the government of not giving them their fair share of funds, while the government alleges misappropriation of funds by the MCDs.
Leader of Opposition in North MCD and AAP leader Surjeet Pawar said, “The Delhi government has paid them more than their due. If they can’t give salaries, they should hand over the administration to the Delhi government.”
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