Thousands of nurses who have launched an indefinite strike demanding higher salaries and allowances, yesterday alleged they were being threatened with dismissal and asked to vacate their government quarters within two days if they don’t return to work immediately.
The All India Government Nurses Federation (AIGNF) has said its members have been trying to meet senior Health Ministry officials, including Secretary C K Mishra.
“Though we want to meet the senior officials and resolve the problem, we have been asked to meet only the nursing adviser repeatedly. The health secretary is not confirming our request to meet him,” Liladhar Ramchandani, AIGNF spokesperson, said.
Over 20,000 nurses in government hospitals in Delhi on Friday went on an indefinite strike, even as the government invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against them.
Ramchandani said a delegation of 17 nurses from various government hospitals of Delhi were invited for talks by the Health Ministry but none of the officials met the delegation.
The striker has affected hospital services badly.
According to federation, the core demands include that the entry pay grade for staff nurses be enhanced to Rs5,400 from Rs4,600 and nursing allowance be raised to Rs7,800.
They are also demanding risk and night duty allowances for all nurses.
On Friday, over 80 nurses of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital were detained by Delhi police for going ahead with the strike.
The agitation has badly hit over 40 central and state government hospitals in Delhi, at a time when dengue and chikungunya cases are soaring.
Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung invoked the ESMA against the striking nurses, terming the protest completely illegal.
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