Under pressure from the state government and Bombay High Court (HC),Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) called off its strike Friday. The strike had entered its fourth day.
More than 400 doctors attached to JJ Hospital,who were the last to join the agitation,were the first to resume work,followed by other doctors across the state as the evening progressed,though MARD told hospitals its members would be officially back on duty by 8 am Saturday.
As per a high court decision,continuation of strike will be contempt of court. Patients are also being badly affected by this stalemate and the government has been expelling many of our fellow students, said P Harshollhas,resident doctor at JJ Hospital and secretary of MARD.
HC had directed the striking doctors Wednesday to resume work and the state government had given them 48 hours or face action under Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).
Over 3,000 doctors across the state participated in the strike seeking an increase of Rs 10,000 in stipend of Rs 31,000 and cancellation of the rural service bond if there is no posting within two months of signing it.
The government,however,said any increase in stipend beyond Rs 5,000 would require cabinet approval.
Doctors at the three main municipal hospitals in Mumbai,KEM,Sion and Nair,18 peripheral hospitals and the state-run JJ Hospital had joined the strike.
The government has agreed to most of our demands and is looking at promptly implementing some. Regarding demands that require cabinet approval,we have been assured a positive decision will be taken, Harshollhas said.
Meanwhile,civic hospitals continued to face a severe staff crunch Friday. Nearly 70 per cent of patients were turned away with only 8-10 per cent of resident doctors at work. Major surgeries were deferred to keep emergency services running.