All Manipur Health Services Doctors’ Association (AMHSDA) during its emergency general body meeting held at the Amity Hall, Adimjati, Chingmeirong in Imphal has decided on a two-day OPD shutdown followed by indefinite shutdown from January 9 onwards.
AMHSDA general secretary Lolee P Mao condemned the “disinterest attitude” of the government regarding the demands of the association. It said in a statement that the association had resolved to declare a two-day OPD shutdown followed by an indefinite shutdown with effect from January 9 onwards.
It informed that initially the AMHSDA put forward an eight charter of demands to the government vide letter no. 182/19 dated 20/8/2022 which were then reduced to four demands per the authorities’ request during a meeting chaired by the Health and Family Welfare director and additional chief secretary along with AMHSDA executives and Working Committee on November 14.
The final four demands included the time bound/scale promotion; extension of superannuation age of specialist and non-specialist doctors to 65 years as administrative post as per the declaration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi; inclusion of NPA in the basic pay with effect from January 1 of 2016 as per the 7th Central Pay Commission; and Major Amendment of the outdated MHS Rules 1982, it maintained. These four demands were discussed at the ministerial level on November 18 of 2022, it continued.
The initial charter of demands also included demands for the creation of a director general and two more directors namely Public Health and Medical Education; any MHS doctor eligible to the highest post i.e. director by virtue of seniority; abide strictly by the transfer and posting policy 2017; and provision of risk and difficult areas posting allowances, it mentioned.
It maintained that as the government was not granting any of the association’s demands even after a gap of two years with repeated reminders, the AMHSDA started its agitation by putting on Black Badges from November 1 followed by sit-in protests and relay hunger strike across the 16 districts of the state. But no response came from the government; therefore, a one-day mass casual leave was applied by more than 750 doctors across the state on December 17 and the OPD services were closed on December 20, it continued.
“In good faith, AMHSDA temporarily suspended its ongoing strike during the Sangai Festival as the government had agreed to put the four demands forward in the December 2022 cabinet meeting. The AMHSDA also suspended the two-day OPD shutdown followed by indefinite closure from December 12 onwards, but the agreed-upon demands were not put forward in the cabinet meeting on January 2,” it added.