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Maharashtra doctors go on indefinite strike over pay hike

Doctors are demanding implementation of sixth pay, increase in retirement age to 62 years, regularization of promotion procedure etc.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
Updated: July 2, 2014 12:35:01 pm

As many as 12,000 medical officers from all over the state have gone on an indefinite strike for the second time in a month after the state government’s promises to fulfill the long pending demands of Maharashtra State Gazetted Medical Officers Organisation (MAGMO) were left unattended.

In what could cause a serious dent in medical services, medical officers from state’s rural hospital, district hospitals, sub-district hospitals and public health centers are now in the process of mass resignation.

According to Dr Rajesh Gaikwad, president of MAGMO who commenced a hunger strike from Tuesday, over 6,000 resignations from all across the state have already been submitted to him.

“Once I get all resignations, we will offer it to the state government,” Gaikwad said.

The strike, ironically, began on Doctor’s Day which falls on July 1. According to MAGMO, the medical officers were forced to adopt harsh measures despite getting assurances by state authorities, no attempt was made by the latter to fulfill them. The MAGMO had gone on an indefinite strike on June 1 for similar demands after which the state government had promised to implement the demands if the strike was called off.

Gaikwad said, “In absence of any development in the past one month, the medical officers have now pledged to participate in an indefinite mass strike. While I am on a hunger strike at Azad Maidan, my colleagues are staging protest all over the state.”

The stir will also see participation of civil surgeons and specialists, which significantly affect not only the routine and OPD work but even the emergency cases in all public hospitals.

Amongst the long list of demands, sixth pay implementation to all state medical officers in public health department since January 1, 2006, has been the priority. Other demands include implementation of pay scale according to the central government and medical education department, increase in retirement age from 58 to 62 years, regularization of promotion procedure, and creation of optional non-practicing allowance for PG pursuing medical officer.

“We also want to have eight hours of working schedule. Currently, we are expected to stay longer,” a medical officer told The Indian Express.

There are around 789 medical officers with BAMS degree and 32 medical officers with BDS degree who work as medical officers on ad-hoc basis. According to MAGMO, government has been assuring since three years to attend the association’s demands, however, till now no demand has been fulfilled.

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