New Delhi: A day after striking junior doctors rejected a proposal from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for talks at the state secretariat Nabanna, another meeting has been scheduled with them at 5 pm on Saturday at the same venue.
The doctors on Friday had struck down her request to come to the secretariat and instead asked her to come down to the NRS Medical College and Hospital to listen to their grievances and apologise for having cast aspersions on them.
The invite to the junior doctors was sent from the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Friday after the intervention of five senior doctors led by Sukumar Mukherjee, who called on Banerjee at Nabanna and offered to mediate to resolve the stalemate which has completely paralysed medical services at state-run hospitals of Bengal for the last four days.
“We have come on our own to resolve the issue as the medical services in the state are going through a crisis – both for the doctors and the patients. We want the doctors to feel secure, and the government also to keep its promise to improve the functioning of the hospital services,” Mukherjee had said after a two and half hour meeting with the Chief Minister.
After almost a week of a meltdown between the Bengal doctors and the Mamata Banerjee government, today’s proposal by the CM gains significance as she has again summoned them to the secretariat.
A report in News18 quoted, “This is a ploy to break our unity, our agitation. We will not attend any meeting at the state secretariat. The chief minister has to come here (NRS Medical College and Hospital) and deliver an unconditional apology for the manner in which she had addressed us during her visit to SSKM Hospital on Thursday,” a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors said.
Banerjee had visited SSKM Hospital on Thursday and given the doctors a four-hour deadline to withdraw their strike and normalise the services at the hospitals. She also threatened to use the Essential Services Maintenance Act and warned of “strong action” if the strikers miss the deadline.
Banerjee then alleged a political conspiracy with BJP and CPI-M hand in glove over the protests and dubbed the agitators as “outsiders”, “BJP workers and CPI-M cadre”- which has now become the main bone of contention between the aggravated party and the state.
Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also called for a nationwide strike on June 17, while demanding safe working conditions for doctors. The IMA also launched a three-day pan-India protest, beginning Friday to express solidarity with the junior doctors agitating against the assault of their colleague in Kolkata.
“All non-essential services including OPD will be withdrawn for 24 hours starting 6 a.m. on Monday. The emergency and casualty services, however, will continue to function,” said R.V. Asokan, Secretary General of IMA.
With inputs from IANS