Resident doctors at North Delhi’s Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, who were on partial strike for the past two days over non-payment of salary for three months, have called a complete strike from Monday. The move is set to affect health services as the North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run facility is one of the busiest hospitals in the city, seeing a footfall of thousands every day.
President of the Resident Doctors’ Association Rahul Choudhary said doctors are on strike as they have not been paid for the past three months: “It has become routine, our salaries are being delayed for one-two months. Most of us have exhausted our savings now.”
Sources in the civic body said doctors have indirect support from nurses and other staff members, as their salary too is delayed. A nurse at the hospital, who did not wish to be named, said, “Salaries have been routinely delayed for the past four years… Even now, we have not been paid last month’s salary. We remained silent as we feared the administration, but we have now decided to indirectly support resident doctors.”
A doctor, Peeyush, said around 500 doctors, including senior residents, junior residents and interns, will be on strike. He alleged there have been attempts by the administration to pressure them into calling off the strike, by threatening that their theses will not be signed. Asked about the issue, a senior official of the North civic body claimed files regarding funds are pending with the Delhi government: “We have explained the situation to doctors. Also, property tax collection is the lowest at this time of the year; it will pick up from next year after which the corporation will be financially more comfortable.” Delhi government officials and the hospital’s medical superintendent did not comment on the issue.
North MCD sources said the salary status of doctors in the other four hospitals run by the corporation — Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases (MVID), Kasturba Gandhi, Girdhari Lal and Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine & Tuberculosis — is the same. “We have not joined the strike as we are few in number…,” said a doctor at Kasturba hospital, adding that they will join if the agitation escalates. Another doctor at MVID hospital said doctors have been unable to pay credit card bills on time, which affects their CIBIL score: “If doctors decide to purchase a house, they have to pay more interest due to their poor CIBIL score,” he said.