Irked by salary delays, doctors on Covid duty at Hindu Rao Hospital have launched an online campaign demanding pending payments. As part of it, they will post pictures with the text — ‘Doctors on Covid duty, Unpaid Day 105, Hindu Rao Hospital Delhi’ — on their social media from Monday. The day will be updated daily. They will also post pictures related to problems they face due to non-payment of salaries.
Dr Sagar Deep, general secretary of the hospital’s Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA), said doctors will keep posting such photos every day since “those risking their lives are not being paid despite regular protests”.
“Salary has been delayed for three months. We were last paid in June. Earlier too, there has been a two-three month delay. Doctors are fed up with this,” he said, adding that nobody, including around 50 doctors on Covid duty, has been paid.
Nurses and doctors in other hospitals and health facilities run by the North MCD are also holding protests over salary delay. 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, in addition to 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 across its medical facilities. North MCD Mayor Jai Prakash said he will call a meeting with doctors and healthcare workers to sort out the issue. He said the civic body’s finances were deeply affected due to Covid and accused the Delhi government of not paying dues amounting to Rs 1,200 crore. He said he has reached out to ministers in the central government. “We have been promised some help. But since I was affected with Covid, I couldn’t follow up on it. Now I will make fresh efforts and there will be some financial help in some form soon,” he said.
A Delhi government spokesperson didn’t respond to queries seeking comment.
RDA president Abhimanyu Sardana said he has written a letter to the Hindu Rao administration, stating that despite the High Court Order, salaries are long overdue. “Residents (doctors) have decided to go for a ‘pen down’ strike every day from 9 am to 12 pm displaying our ordeal; we request you to provide us with a solution promptly… healthcare workers are frontline Covid warriors providing their valuable services while risking their lives. However, in every compensatory way, the salary should be of high priority and this issue must be addressed,” he wrote.
In a hearing in June, taking note of instances of non-payment of salary to doctors treating Covid-19 patients, the Supreme Court had told the Centre that the country cannot afford to have “dissatisfied soldiers in the war against the pandemic”, and asked authorities to go the extra mile to raise funds for them.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of MCD Employees Union, which was also holding protests over salary delay, ended its strike on Monday for 60 days after assurance from the mayor that they would be paid soon.
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