Vijaya Baskar, Ramana appear before I-T officials

Minister warns striking doctors, police protection to govt hospitals

Though a section of doctors have withdrawn strike and returned to work, another section of government physicians are going ahead with the protest, forcing the government to issue a stern warning.

Health minister C Vijayabaskar said more than 4,000 posts of striking doctors would be declared vacant and the government would fill the vacancies with internal transfers or through new recruitment.

Vijayabaskar urged the striking doctors to return to work immediately. If the strike continues, the government will take measures to protect the welfare of the people. He said though the Federation of Government Doctors Association was not recognised by the government, the Health Secretary held talks with its representatives on October 25, assuring them that their demands were under consideration.

He pointed out that the Dynamic Assured Career Progression that guaranteed higher pay and time-bound promotions was implemented only for government doctors. It was unfair to demand and compare it with the pay scale of Central government doctors. They were not allowed to practice in private hospitals or run their own hospitals, whereas government doctors in the State were permitted to take up private practice, he added.

If the striking government doctors do not report for duty on Thursday, it will be considered a break in service, and their posts will be declared vacant. The government will not hesitate to make fresh appointments to these posts, Vijayabaskar said.

Amidst the ongoing doctors’ strike, Tamil Nadu health secretary Beela Rajesh has sought police protection for government hospitals and medical colleges to enable medical officers render service to the public without any untoward incidents.

In a letter to the director general of police J K Tripathy, she requested police pickets to be stationed to ensure that essential medical services to the public is not affected. On Monday, police entered the Madras Medical College campus when the doctors’ body erected a tent minutes before it began to rain.

Demanding pay parity, the doctors argue that central government doctors earn Rs. 1.2 lakh a month on completion of 13 years of service. In Tamil Nadu, they say, it takes 20 years to touch that band and want the government to fix this anomaly.