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No salary for 3 months, doctors at Delhi’s Kasturba Hospital threaten to resign en masse

Resident doctors at Kasturba Hospital, run by North MCD, say it is becoming difficult to survive without salary. Hospital authorities cite lack of funds for non-payment.

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New Delhi: Resident doctors at Kasturba Hospital, run by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD), have threatened mass resignation if their salaries due since March are not paid.

The doctors have submitted a letter to the hospital authorities Wednesday, saying they will resign en masse on 16 June if their demand is not met. The hospital has nearly 100 resident doctors.

Dr Abhiman Chauhan, spokesperson of the hospital’s Resident Doctors Association, told ThePrint it is becoming difficult to survive without salary now. 

“It’s been three months, we haven’t got a salary since March. We have spoken about it repeatedly, but all in vain. That’s why we have written this letter. If they don’t clear our dues, we will resign on 16 June,” said Chauhan, a paediatrician who has been working with the hospital for the last 5 years.

“We are frontline workers, how can we be neglected like this? Doctors who stay out of campus and don’t have government accommodation need to pay rents, travel and support their families.”

Chauhan added, “The other day a resident doctor was asked by his landlord to vacate his room for fear of catching coronavirus. Shifting in Delhi requires a lot of money. Travelling to hospital daily is also expensive because metros are closed. This way, we will soon be left with nothing to survive with.”  

The letter, signed by all resident doctors, read: “This is to inform that the resident doctors have not been salaried for the last three months. All the residents are working in this pandemic Covid-19 situation continuously putting their and their families’ lives in danger.”

It added, “Being the frontline workers, we should be paid our pending salaries as soon as possible and should be ensured a regular salary payout. We are afraid if we won’t be paid by 16th June 2020, we will have to move for Mass Resignation.”

Following the letter, Chauhan said, the hospital’s medical superintendent Dr Sangita Nangia cited lack of funds as the reason for non-payment of salaries.

ThePrint contacted Dr Nangia’s office, but her staff said she isn’t available for comments.

ThePrint also called Gyanesh Bharti, Commissioner of South Delhi Municipal Corporation who has been given the additional charge of Commissioner, North MCD, but he didn’t pick up phone.

Also read: Endless queues & funerals, scared staff — Delhi’s Covid crisis unravels in chaos at crematoria

Permanent doctors too didn’t get salaries from March 

Dr Chauhan said doctors working on permanent positions had also not got their salaries for the last three months.

The hospital has nearly 70 permanent doctors.

“We cannot say too much since we are permanent doctors, but yes, we haven’t got our salaries since March too. When we speak to the authorities, they say they don’t have the funds right now,” said a doctor, who didn’t want to be named. 

He said the authorities told them there is no estimated time as to when they will get their salaries.

“We were told that when the funds arrive, they will release our money, no time period was given.”

The doctor said their salaries were delayed for one month earlier, but this time the delay is very long. 

10 healthcare staff tested positive

Located near Jama Masjid, Kasturba Hospital is a 450-bed maternity and child specialty hospital. 

A resident doctor, who didn’t want to be named, told ThePrint at least 10 healthcare staff, including doctors, PG students and nurses, had tested positive for Covid-19 last month after coming in contact with asymptomatic patients.

The issue of non-payment of salaries at North MCD hospitals is not new. Last month, healthcare staff at several North MCD hospitals, polyclinics and maternity nursing homes alleged they have not been paid their salaries for at least two months. 

Apart from the Kasturba Hospital, other facilities functioning under the North MCD include Hindu Rao, Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital, Girdhari Lal Maternity Hospital, and Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis. 

Also read: No salary for months, Delhi municipal staff’s struggles have multiplied in Covid lockdown


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