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Bengaluru Doctors call off stir after government's assurance to resolve issues

Karnataka Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar
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Karnataka Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar

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The government doctors in Karnataka on Friday called off their strike over salary hike after the government conceded their demand

Bengaluru: The government doctors in Karnataka on Friday called off their strike over salary hike after the government conceded their demand.

The announcement was made by state Health Minister B Sriramulu. "The meeting with the protesting doctors was fruitful. Approval has been given to meet their demand," Sriramulu tweeted after the meeting with the Karnataka Government Medical Officers' Association office-bearers.

Praising Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa for his initiative to break the logjam, Sriramulu said, "Congratulations to the doctors on behalf of the government for calling off their strike."

The doctors under the aegis of KGMOA, went on strike from September 15 demanding a salary hike on par with the teaching faculties at the government medical colleges and hospitals.

"We have called off the strike as the government has agreed to all our demands. They said they will earmark Rs 125 crore for this," the KGMOA president Dr G Srinivas told PTI.

According to a district health officer, about 4,000 government doctors were on token strike. On Thursday, Karnataka reported 9,366 new cases of COVID-19 and 93 related fatalities, taking the total number of infections to 4,94,356 and toll to 7,629.

Earlier, Karnataka Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar too assured the government doctors of considering their demand for wage revision. "Going on strike at a time when the state government and other stakeholders were fighting the pandemic, does not behold the doctors as their absence is affecting healthcare, especially Covid-19 patients," Sudhakar told reporters at an event here.

Though the Karnataka Government Medical Officers' Association agreed to withdraw the strike at a meeting with the state health department recently, many of its 5,000 members have not been reporting for duty since September 15, demanding salary revision, among other things.

Asserting that the state government was committed to address the concerns of the doctors, the minister said it was inhuman for anyone to use the Covid-19 situation for one's gain. Admitting that the doctors had a great responsibility in the fight against the deadly disease, Sudhakar hoped they would withdraw the strike and report for duty from Saturday.

Inaugurating the molecular diagnostic laboratory and the skill training centre of B. R. Ambedkar Medical College in the city's south-east suburb, the minister said the chief minister (B.S. Yediyurappa) had agreed to some of the demands, including wage revision and was waiting for the nod of the state finance department.

"The salaries of doctors under the state health department will be based on 6-year, 13-year and 20-year promotion," said Sudhakar. The doctors also sought pay parity with their counterparts in the state medical education department or as per the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).

"As we are conducting about 75,000 tests per day, we are recording more positive cases and the pandemic is under control in the state compared to other southern states," asserted Sudhakar. The state government is also increasing beds in the intensive care units (ICU) of the state-run hospitals, especially in Bengaluru where more patients are being admitted.

"We are increasing ICU beds and ventilators due to rise in severe cases, while beds in general wards are adequate for new cases," Sudhakar added.

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