Transfer order has been issued to five of the nearly 500 doctors on strike, which entered its seventh day on Thursday, in Tiruchi. The doctors attached to the Federation of Government Doctors Association (FOGDA) have been boycotting work with a list of four demands, including rectification of anomalies in promotion and payment.
Speaking to, T Aruleeswaran, State Organiser, FOGDA, said that 50 doctors across the State were given transfer orders late on Wednesday night. “Despite the government’s threat, many doctors are taking part in the strike in defiance,” he said.
Angered by the government’s move, doctors from Erode and two other districts also joined the protest on Thursday, he said.“We are asking for our basic rights; is this how they respond?” questioned Aruleeswaran who is supposedly one of the five doctors in Tiruchi to receive the order. “We have been protesting since July to draw the State government’s attention to our problems. In August, they asked us to withdraw the protest with an assurance that a viable solution will be worked out in six weeks. However, they are yet to respond even after two months,” he said.
A. Thangavel, district organiser, FOGDA, said doctors attached to other associations, including Service Doctors and Post Graduates Association, Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association, and Democratic Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association took part in the strike demanding pay parity, 50% State-wise reservation for PG courses for government doctors, correction of all discrepancies in the Government Order implementing the staffing pattern to the hospitals (the number of doctors is based on Medical Council of India guidelines and not the number of patient admissions), and regular counselling for PG students. A total of 70 doctors attended to emergency cases, he added.
About 300 doctors, house surgeons and students in Tiruvarur district formed a human chain as part of the protest. On Thursday, 82 doctors joined the protest in front of the Government Thiruvarur Medical College.
A large number of doctors, wearing black badges on black clothes, staged a peaceful demonstration outside Thanjavur Government Medical College Hospital. Thanjavur MLA T. K. G. Neelamegam and Thiruvaiyaru MLA Durai Chandrasekaran spoke in support of them.
A total of 114 service postgraduate doctors at the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madruai staged a protest.
G. Arivoli, who led the demonstration, said that it was unfair on part of the government to threaten protesting doctors with transfers to obscure places without approaching them and conducting talks. “The Health Minister must take the effort to ensure that they come to the negotiating table regarding the pay. Dynamic Assured Career Progression that supposedly guarantees pay and time-bound promotio, does not allow career advancement proportionate to the work being carried out,” he said.
The protesters also demanded that counselling be held regularly for the 500 postgraduate vacancies at government medical college hospitals and district hospitals instead of randomly assigning locations to doctors. (With inputs from Madurai)