MMCRI resident doctors go on strike over salaries, COVID-19 grant

They threaten to step up agitation if demands were not met suitably

The resident doctors of Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMCRI) have threatened to go on a hunger strike demanding timely release of salaries without any cuts.

The doctors, who have launched an indefinite strike from Thursday in support of their demands, said they got salary for the month of September but with the deduction of ₹15,000. The PGs’ monthly salary is ₹50,000 but ₹35,000 was credited into their accounts, cutting ₹15,000, which was given as a part of allowance for discharging COVID-19 duties.

Citing the order issued on May 5, 2021 by the government, the protesting doctors said the government had promised to provide a sum of ₹10,000 every month along with the stipend of ₹50,000 to the resident doctors until the COVID-19 situation becomes normal.

“After paying the allowance for three months (₹30,000),it is now being deducted through our salaries. This is unfair as we were paid the allowance as we did the COVID-19 duties. Moreover, we had not asked for the allowance but the government itself announced to pay us the allowance. But now the sum is being taken from our salaries,” one of the protesting resident doctors told The Hindu.

Claiming that the resident doctors were promised orally that the allowance would be given at least for a period of six months, the protesting doctors, who are pursuing their PG studies at the MMCRI, said they sacrificed their academics for combating the pandemic. “In the line of duty, many junior doctors contracted COVID-19 and a few of them survived the infection after fighting it while on ventilator support. When this is the case, how could the government take the decision of deducting the allowance already paid to us,” they asked.

Demanding timely release of monthly stipend in full without any cuts, the doctors demanded that the deducted amount of ₹15,000 be credited back to their accounts.

The doctors have also raised the issue with the Deputy Commissioner, Mysuru, and sought his intervention in resolving the salary and COVID-19 allowance issue.

In support of their demands, the resident doctors have boycotted OPD and OTs as part of their protest at K.R. Hospital and the Cheluvamba Hospital, attached to the MMCRI. They are, however, carrying out emergency duties.

They have planned a march from the K.R. Hospital to the Deputy Commissioner’s office on Friday in support of their demands.

The Resident Doctors’ Association of MMCRI had sought the immediate intervention of the Minister for Health and Medical Education in September this year as it said that the MMCRI had not released the salaries and COVID-19 allowances of junior doctors even after their working in the hospitals for two-and-a-half months. They also staged a protest at the hospital.

The Association said the MMCRI has denied salaries to the government-appointed junior residents as per the Compulsory Rural Service-2021. It claimed that the medical colleges have to pay the JRs through the funds available with them and this fact was also confirmed by the financial advisor.

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