02:13 GMT20 June 2021
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    Madhya Pradesh, one of the most COVID-affected Indian states, is now reeling under another crisis as junior doctors of six government medical colleges have resigned en masse. The doctors have made various demands over the past six months but not enough of them have been met.

    Nearly 3,000 junior doctors in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have resigned from their posts after the state's High Court on Thursday termed their four-day strike "illegal" and directed them to resume duties within 24 hours.

    The junior doctors in the state have raised several demands, including a hike in stipend and free treatment for them and their families in the event that they contract COVID-19. They have been on a strike since 31 May. 

    The president of the Junior Doctors Association of Madhya Pradesh, Arvind Meena, told media that the doctors submitted their resignations to the deans of their respective colleges.

    The doctors are reportedly refusing to work at the Out-Patient Departments (OPDs), the In-Patient Departments (IPDs) and other wards of various healthcare facilities, until they see their needs met..

    Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Vishvas Sarang declared that the strike and mass resignation of the doctors is irrational.

    “We have already agreed to some of the demands of the junior doctors. Free treatment for them, as well as their kin, was being provided and even beds were earmarked for them. We have also increased the stipend. But not all of their demands are rational. They are saying that they won’t take posting in the rural areas which is completely irrational. They need to understand that being a doctor, they need to serve humanity. So, I would say that they should respect the decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and resume their duties”, the minister added.

    Dr. Shankul Dwivedi, the National Joint Secretary of Indian Medical Association Junior Doctors Network, told Sputnik: “We want written assurance that the government is agreeing to our demands. The government is only highlighting that the doctors are demanding a hike in stipend.”

    “The Kamal Nath government (the previous state government) had promised a 6 percent annual hike, now the government should fulfill it.”

    Clarifying the stand on rural posts, he added: “Since we have catered to rural as well as urban population during the pandemic in the last one year so that period should be deducted from the service bond.”

    A candidate who takes admission in any government medical college must sign a service bond. According to the service bond, the candidate must serve in rural areas or government service for a certain period of time after completion of the course.

    Among other demands, the doctors also want a police station to be set up near COVID hospitals to ensure the security of medical staff.

    Madhya Pradesh has reported over 7.8 million COVID-19 cases and more than 8,500 people have succumbed to the deadly virus.

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