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Over 4,000 Resident Doctors on Strike, Maharashtra Minister Calls Meeting

MUMBAI: Over 4,000 doctors from public hospitals are on an indefinite strike in Maharashtra, they are demanding better pay, work hours and security from the government.

At 8am this morning, resident doctors of 14 public medical colleges including three municipal-body run hospitals have decided to stay off work until the government accepts their demand in writing.

The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors have been demanding an increase in stipend, paid leave of two months for those undergoing tuberculosis treatment and two months paid maternity leave among others. They have also been demanding regular work hours not exceeding 8 hours and better security by installing CCTV cameras in hospitals.

The president of the resident doctor's association, Sagar Mundada, told, "Out of the 10 demands we put forth to minister Vinod Tawde on June 12, only 4 were mentioned in the minutes of the meeting. None of the main demands were mentioned and we haven't received any written confirmation or time-bound commitment."

Officials at Mumbai's only government hospital, JJ Hospital have made temporary arrangements for professors and interns to help, but a prolonged strike is a cause of worry.

"We have ensured that OPD and emergency services aren't affected, but if the strike continues it is likely to hamper services. We postponed 20% of the routine surgeries today", said Dr. Tatya Rao Lahane of the JJ Hopital.

However, patients are feeling the impact of the strike.

"I have come all the way from Nashik because I was given today's date. Now I have been asked to come back on the 6th of July. It cost me money and I had to take an off from work. Now I will have to come back at a later date", said Narendra Borse who had come to JJ hospital for a sonography.

In order to break the deadlock, Medical Education Minister Vinod Tawde has called a meeting with the doctors at 5pm this evening.

So far doctors are in no mood to relent till their demands are met. They are planning to organise a candle march around KEM Hospital in Mumbai tomorrow.

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