Over 300 doctors sacked by Jharkhand government (Lead)

June 5th, 2008 - 11:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, June 5 (IANS) Over 300 doctors who have been on strike for 11 days as they wanted their contracts with the state government to be changed to regular job appointments have been sacked. The doctors are likely to challenge their dismissals in court. Health Minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi gave the order Wednesday night after the expiry of the government deadline to the doctors to return to work.

“More than 300 contratual doctors who did not return to their duties have been dismissed, while 245 doctors who were on contract have joined their duties,” Sahi said.

Asked if the sacked doctors would be considered when the government hired doctors next, the minister said: “Let us see what they (the sacked doctors) do. They should not be given preference but we have not decided on the issue.”

Bimlesh Singh, president of Jharkhand Contractual Doctors’ Association, said: “The doctors will decide their course of action on Friday. We will definitely move Jharkhand High Court against dismissal of the doctors.”

The Indian Medical Association’s Jharkhand unit has also threatened to go to court against the dismissals.

But the doctors on contract have not been united this time. One of the 245 who rejoined duty pointed out that they had been on strike a number of times earlier, but the association used to backtrack without getting its demand satisfied.

“When we went on strike earlier our leadership should not have compromised on the regularisation issue. We cannot lose our job at this phase of our lives,” he said.

Doctors who rejoined were working in different parts of the state. Those in Bokaro district had not joined the strike at all.

The doctors who went on strike May 26 were demanding that their services be regularised. They also wanted to be exempted from the written examination conducted before recruitment for regular jobs.

According to the government, 620 doctors were working on contract with the Jharkhand government.

The doctors on strike have got support from the state’s main opposition Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). “We will stage a demonstration in Ranchi on June 10 against dismissal of the doctors,” said former chief minister and BJP leader Arjun Munda. “The state government should have been sympathetic towards them.”

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