Approximately 450 resident doctors from B J Government Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital in Pune, along with counterparts across Maharashtra, are gearing up for an indefinite strike. The primary objectives of the strike are to advocate for enhanced hostel facilities, a raise in stipends, and the settlement of pending arrears.
Dr. Nikhil Gattani, president of the Maharashtra Resident Association of Doctors (MARD) at B J Government Medical College, underscored the urgent need for better living conditions, stating, “The hostel accommodation is inadequate. Residents are forced to live in compromised conditions, with overcrowding becoming the norm.”
Among the key demands is the implementation of stipend payments comparable to those in central government institutes. Dr. Abhijeet Helge, president of the state unit of MARD, expressed frustration, saying, “We have pursued these issues through various channels for over a year without any resolution.”
“The junior resident doctors at BJMC and Sassoon General Hospital will be forced to embark on an indefinite strike since our demands have not been satisfied,” MARD added in an official statement.
The dissatisfaction arises, in part, from unmet assurances by the Maharashtra government following a strike held in January last year. Dr. Gattani lamented the stipend rate disparity, pointing out that despite Maharashtra’s robust financial status, resident doctors receive significantly lower stipends than their counterparts in other states.
While outpatient services in government hospitals statewide are expected to be affected, emergency services will remain operational. MARD, in a statement, expressed regret for any inconvenience to patients but emphasized the urgency of their demands.
Dr. Vinayak Kale, dean of B J Government Medical College and Sassoon Hospital, expressed optimism regarding government responsiveness, stating, “We do have our alternate arrangements. Associate and assistant professors and other teachers will manage the OPD. If the strike continues longer, then it is likely that services may be partially hampered,” Dr. Kale said.
The protesting resident doctors, in their statement, have apologized for the inconvenience caused to patients due to the strike.