1200 doctors defy ESMA, resign for better perks in Bhopal

BHOPAL: A day after the state government invoked ESMA to end a strike by junior doctors, 1,200 of them resigned on Tuesday insisting that the administration heed their demand for better stipend and work atmosphere on rural postings.
The Junior Doctors’ Association met with divisional commissioner Kavindra Kiyawat in Bhopal, but talks failed to end the impasse, leading to the mass resignation. As many as 330 of them are from Bhopal and 350 from Gwalior, say sources.
The doctors’ agitation at all tertiary hospitals linked to the five government medical colleges off MP has badly impacted patient services. The government called the strike illegal and imposed ESMA on Monday to get the junior doctors back to work, but the association defied the clampdown.

JUDA president Dr Sachet Saxena said, “We have no option but to resign. Had the government been proactive and heeded our demands, things would not have come to such a passe.” Resignation letters on plain A4-size sheets with separate pages for signatures were presented to local deans on Tuesday afternoon.
The government, too, refuses to back down. Medical education minister Sharad Jain said, “JUDA’s demands will be addressed only after they return to work.” Sources said the government will wait till Wednesday morning after which arrests and legal action against absentee doctors would be initiated. Doctors could be made to furnish Rs 10 lakh bonds, a source said.

JUDA has been pressing for higher stipend and congenial atmosphere with better facilities for doctors in medical colleges and those posted in rural hospitals. JUDA doctors at Hamidia Hospital had been holding a parallel OPD for the past week, but not on Tuesday. The JUDA canteen here was mostly vacant, so was the 100-room Block E hostel. Around 40% JUDA doctors are women.
Class III and Class IV technical staff, who had stayed away from duty on Monday demanding perks on a par with Seventh Pay Commission, have withdrawn their strike, said a GMC official.