Mumbai: Nearly 4,000 post-graduate doctors from 18 medical colleges across Maharashtra on Friday went on a strike demanding transfer of two senior doctors from the state-run JJ Hospital in Mumbai.
The Directorate of Medical Education, meanwhile, has recommended that government invoke Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) to thwart the strike.
Since last one week, doctors have been demanding transfer of JJ Hospital's Dean and noted eye surgeon Dr TP Lahane and her deputy Dr Ragini Parekh, head of the Ophthalmology department.
"As decided collectively, all 4,000 residents doctors from across the state have gone on an indefinite strike from 8 am today and won't budge from their stand till the state government accepts our demand and gives an assurance in writing," a senior officer-bearer from the central wing of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) said.
"We will be attending to patients under emergency services, but Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) have been shut in all public medical colleges from 8 am today," he said. "We will continue our protest till the state government transfers Lahane and Parekh as they are harassing students and not fit for their posts," he alleged.
Responding to a query that Directorate of Medical Education has recommended invoking MESMA against them, he said, "They should know that MESMA applies to full-time government staff, and we are trainee doctors. How can they impose MESMA on us."
However, state Directorate of Medical Education and Research Head Dr Pravin Shingare rejected the argument of the striking doctors. "It is the prerogative of the state government to categorise the services that fall under the ambit of the Act. MESMA has been invoked in the past in so many cases against those who were not state government staff but used to render their services to residents of the state," Shingare told PTI.
"Government can declare that these services and its providers are under the MESMA, that's it," he said. "We have recommended and requested our medical education minister to invoke MESMA which he has readily accepted. Now it will go for publication in the government gazette, and then the gazette notification (invoking MESMA) will be issued," he said.