Resident doctors at the Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak went on an indefinite strike from Thursday in solidarity with the ongoing agitation by MBBS students against the Haryana government’s bond policy.
“Barring emergency and trauma services, OPDs (outpatient departments), wards and elective surgeries will remain suspended from Thursday for an indefinite period till our demands are met,” PGIMS Rohtak Resident Doctors Association president, Dr Ankit Gulia said.
Sources said on Thursday that senior doctors were deputed to run the OPD at the government-operated PGIMS.
They said that as a mark of protest, the protesting doctors have decided that on Friday they will examine the OPD patients in park of the hospital complex by erecting tents there.
However, regular OPDs inside hospital will remain non-functional, a senior doctor said.
MBBS students at PGIMS and some other medical colleges in Haryana have been holding protests for the past three weeks against the state government’s bond policy.
The Manohar Lal Khattar-led government had earlier said only those candidates who deposited the Rs 10-lakh bond according to its November 2020 policy would be considered for admission to MBBS courses in government medical colleges from the upcoming academic session.
However, on November 2, Khattar said no student would have to deposit the bond amount at the time of admission for MBBS courses in government colleges.
A protesting MBBS student told reporters that they had been urging the authorities to resolve the issue but were yet to receive a positive response.
“We do not want the patients to face inconvenience. But there does not seem to be any intent from the government to resolve the issue. We request the government to keep the interest of patients in mind and resolve the issue,” an MBBS student who has been sitting on a protest in Rohtak told reporters.
In a statement issued earlier, the Resident Doctors’ Association of PGIMS said, “The MBBS students of Haryana have been protesting peacefully over a period of three weeks in this unforgiving weather regarding the appalling bond policy which will halt their future aspirations, demoralise their virtues, restrict their progressive growth, cause brain drain which will eventually cripple their careers.”
Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Leader of Opposition, has also extended support to the protesting MBBS students and assured them of raising the issue in the Haryana Assembly.
“The government’s decision is wrong because poor and middle-class families will not be able to provide medical education to their children due to imposition of the bond policy,” the Congress leader had said after meeting with the protesting students recently.
The demands of the MBBS students include a reduction in the duration of compulsory government service from seven years to one year and the bond default amount to not exceed Rs 5 lakh.
“We want to serve the state and work in the government sector, but conditions in the bond policy, including the duration of compulsory government service, are unfair. Additionally, if anyone chooses not to opt for government service, he will have to shell out nearly Rs 40 lakh for default,” said another medical student.
Despite the state government’s assurance, some of the protesting students said the condition that they would not be required to pay the bond fee at the time of admission would not serve the desired purpose as they would have to repay the loan amount to the bank with interest.
In a statement issued earlier, the government had said that the students would instead have to sign a bond-cum-loan agreement of the amount with the college and the bank concerned.
“If the MBBS/MD pass outs wish to join the state government and serve for seven years, the government will finance the bond amount.
“But candidates who do not want to join government services in Haryana will have to pay the amount themselves,” it had said.
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