Over 2,000 doctors in hospitals and dispensaries run by the North corporation of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi who were to go on an indefinite strike from Monday for non-payment of salaries for three and a half months have called off the protest.
The doctors withdrew the strike on Sunday after an appeal from the Mayor of North corporation that they needed time to arrange funds.
“In order to avoid inconvenience our strike will cause to patients and considering the appeal of the Mayor North MCD to the senior doctors to give him some time to arrange funds, this association has reconsidered its decision to proceed on the scheduled strike,” read the letter by the Municipal Corporation Doctors’ Association to the commissioner of the north corporation.
The letter further adds, “It has been decided to defer the indefinite strike for the time being in general public interest with the hope that in the meanwhile corporation will find permanent solutions of the salary issue.”
The hospitals that would have been affected by the strike are Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis, Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Disease hospital, Kasturba Hospital, and Giridhari Lal hospital. The fifth Hindu Rao hospital was a designated Covid-19 treatment centre, but was removed from the list of Covid-19 facilities as the hospital did not see as many patients with the infection. The non-Covid services at the hospital are yet to resume as the junior doctors continue their strike.
The association had earlier suggested to the authorities that the MCD hospitals be handed over to the central government, as the selection and appointment of doctors for MCD-run hospitals is done by them. This is because the doctors have been facing delays in salaries since 2015, with the problem becoming more acute this year due to the pandemic. The Delhi government, on the other hand, has suggested that they can run the hospitals if MCD is incapable of doing so.
The MCD doctors had also written to the lieutenant governor to file an FIR against “authorities” for non-payment of salaries as per the order by the Union health ministry that said not paying healthcare staff involved in Covid-19 work timely would be a punishable offence under the Disaster Management Act.