Hyderabad: Emergency services in government-run hospitals in Andhra Pradesh are likely to be hit with junior doctors on Friday deciding to intensify their strike. With the government ruling out talks with the striking junior doctors till they call off their protest, the medicos have decided to boycott emergency services from Friday evening. They said if the government failed to come forward for talks on their demands by 5 p.m., they would go ahead with the boycott of all services including emergency ones.
A leader of the Joint Action Committee at the Gandhi Hospital here told reporters that they did not fear arrest or the use of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) by the government. About 2,500 junior doctors in 10 government hospitals have been on strike for nearly a month, demanding a hike in stipend and reduction in compulsory rural service.
Dozens of them are on hunger strike for 15 days in Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and other towns. The striking junior doctors include 1,200 post-graduate students, 1,000 interns and 200 super speciality students.
Medical Education Minister Kondru Murali Mohan, who assumed office on Thursday, asked the junior doctors to call off their strike immediately. Several rounds of talks the officials and a group of ministers had with the junior doctors over the last two weeks failed to resolve the issue.
The government has agreed to increase the stipend by 15 percent but the medicos are insisting on a 40 percent hike. The authorities have also rejected the demand for reduction in compulsory rural service from three years to one year.