'We are modern slaves' say junior doctors on indefinite strike in Karnataka

Resident doctors are worried as there has been no concrete response from the State government
'We are modern slaves' say junior doctors on indefinite strike in Karnataka
'We are modern slaves' say junior doctors on indefinite strike in Karnataka

"We get less than 60% of the pay that medical colleges in other States give their resident doctors." says Shivanand, a resident doctor in Government Medical College in Hubli.

Around 2,500 resident doctors from 10 or 11 medical colleges in Karnataka which are a part of the Karnataka Association for Resident Doctors, have been protesting for the last four days. They have boycotted all emergency services in various government hospitals in the State.

Resident doctors have been protesting for four days now

They have waited one and half years for the implementation of pay hike

On Wednesday the protesting doctors spoke to Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah who was positive about the implementation of the pay hike. "The Chief Minister and the Medical Education Minister, Sharan Prakash R Patil have assured that they would look in to the issue. The Medical Education minister told us that he has sent the files to the Finance department and cabinet will soon discuss the hike."

On September 1, the resident doctors met CM Siddaramaiah

Sharan Prakash R Patil told The News Minute,that the file had been sent to the Finance department as a salary hike had financial implications. Declining to reveal the proposed percentage of the hike in stipend, Patil said that it was a "substantial hike". He also said that it would be done "as soon as possible" 

"We have tried all that we could- we requested the bureaucrats, peaceful march, sent memorandums, representations but we couldn't wait anymore"

Patients have been badly hit as Out Patient Department serivces and emergency services have been stopped in many government hospitals in Karnataka. The junior doctors have been criticised for abandoning patients and creating a resource crunch in hospitals.

Resident doctors from government medical colleges in various districts of Karnataka have been protesting

"We know our duties, and we want to help patients. On Thursday we started blood donation camps in the government hospitals across the State." counters Shivananda.

The resident doctors have set up blood donation camps in the government hospitals across the State

Besides revision of stipends to various positions, protesting doctors are also demanding regulation of working hours and a weekly day off. These proposlas had been made more than a year ago, but in December 2014, the Finance department rejected these demands.

Doctors want the stipends to be raised from Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 for resident doctors, from Rs 25,000 to Rs 40,000 for post-graduate(MD/MS/diploma ) students, and from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 for super-speciality DM/Mch students. The pay has not been revised since November 2011.

They are also demanding that the Dearness Allowance(DA) must be on par with government employees, and also a reduction in weekly working hours for resident doctors. Striking doctors say they are overworked without a weekly off and many work for 60 hours at a stretch, and put in 100 hours a week.

Protests in Bellari

"The representatives from KARD will be coming to Bengaluru on September 4. If no action is taken till then, together we will decide what is to be done," said Shivananda.

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