Regional (M.P & C.G)

Silence Prevails at Hamidia Hospital, Strike Enters Ninth Day

Bhopal:    An eerie silence prevailed at the Government Hamidia Hospital on Tuesday, as health services at this premier facility remained crippled, for the ninth consecutive day, due to the ongoing  strike called by junior doctors to press for better facilities and a hike in stipends.

A riot control vehicle (Vajra) parked outside the casualty ward and a virtual absence of patients’ kin at the chai shops that dot the premises were the only visible signs of the strike.

A few medics carrying backpacks and laptops could be seen huddled in discussions over, perhaps, the outcome of the strike, which, over the last week odd, has already seen the state government invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), expel some 1100 junior doctors across the state’s five medical colleges and release instructions for doctors to vacate hostels.

Commencing the strike on July 20 office bearers of the Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors’ Association had listed — a raise in stipends, reduction in fees and provision of MCI-prescribed workplace facilities – as their top demands.

Terming the strike in public interest, they said, the MCI-prescribed facilities would fillip health facilities in the state.

A government release issued later had urged doctors to end the strike or face disciplinary consequences.

Since then talks between the striking doctors and the government have failed to result in an amicable settlement to the ongoing standoff.

With battle lines getting deeper, the silence on the hospital campus just might turn out to be a lull before the proverbial storm, which coming in tandem with the monsoon, known as a traditionally unhealthy season, and a steep incline in water borne diseases is sure to add to the already stacked woes of patients in the state capital.

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