New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) The All India Government Nurses Federation (AIGNF), which has launched an indefinite strike to demand higher salary and allowances, on Saturday alleged that striking nurses were being threatened with termination of jobs and asked to vacate their government quarters within two days if they don’t return to work immediately.
The federation has said they have been trying to approach senior Health Ministry officials, including Secretary C.K. Mishra, but have received no confirmation of a meeting as yet.
“Though we want to meet the senior officials and resolve the problem, we have been asked to meet only the nursing advisor repeatedly. The Health Secretary is not confirming our request to meet him over our demands,” Liladhar Ramchandani, spokesperson AIGNF, told IANS.
Over 20,000 nurses in government hospitals in Delhi on Friday went on an indefinite agitation, even as the government invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against them.
Manchandani said that a delegation of 16-17 nurses, from various government hospitals of Delhi, were invited for talks by the Health Ministry but none of the officials met the delegation.
The pan-India nurses’ agitation has affected hospital services badly.
According to the All India Government Nurses Federation (AIGNF), the core demands include that the entry pay grade for staff nurses be enhanced to Rs 5,400 from the existing Rs 4,600 and nursing allowance be raised to Rs 7,800.
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 agitation completely illegal.
The Health Ministry said that more states are likely to invoke the ESMA act depending on the condition of hospitals.