Junior doctors call off strike, government agrees to increase stipend by 17%

Bhopal : The junior doctors who were on strike for the past seven days to press for their six-point charter of demands called off agitation on Monday.

Junior Doctors Association (JUDA) withdrew agitation after the government agreed to increase stipend by 17% and also promised to review the stipend from time to time.

Confirming it, state medical education minister Vishvas Sarang said that the government urged the JUDA to call off the strike first after which government will hold discussion. “I am happy that they agreed. We have agreed to increase their stipend by 17%,” Sarang told journalists on Monday morning.

Bhopal District JUDA president Dr Harish Pathak confirmed that strike has been called off. “We had a discussion with minister who accepted some of our demands. We have also asked the minister to give written assurance. Taking care of patients is our first priority, we called off strike after government’s assurance,” Dr Pathak told journalists after meeting with the minister.

In fact, junior doctors in Gwalior and Rewa called off strike early Monday morning as they returned to work in morning shift, claiming that the government has agreed to fulfill their demands.

The minister and JUDA had a meeting on Sunday afternoon but talks failed as JUDA did not agree to government’s offers. At about 2 am on Monday, a meeting between Vishvas Sarang and a delegation of JUDA was held again. The meeting ended at around 4 am. It was believed that JUDA will call off the strike on Monday.

About 3,000 juniors doctors in the state were on strike in support of their demands including hike in stipend, safety and security and also priorities in treatment of them and their family members if they are infected with deadly virus. The meetings between the government and JUDA were being continuously held but JUDA did not agree.

On Thursday, the Madhya Pradesh High Court, while hearing a PIL, had termed the JUDA strike ‘illegal’ and directed them to resume work in 24 hours. The High Court had also directed the state government to take action against junior doctors if they fail to report on duty.

Following the order, dean of Gandhi Medical College in Bhopal had served notice of suspension and also eviction of hostels.