Fresh round of talks between agitating junior doctors and Minister for Medical Education P. Sudarshan Reddy on the issue of enhancement of stipends has failed prompting medicos to further intensify the stir. The junior doctors will launch indefinite hunger strike from Saturday at Gandhi Hospital and relay hunger strikes at district teaching hospitals.

For now, the members Andhra Pradesh Junior Doctors Association (APJUDA) maintained that they will continue to attend emergency duties at all hospitals. The elective surgeries and outpatient facilities at all Government hospitals were in disarray forcing large number of in-patients to get discharged from Government Hospitals.

The State health authorities are clearly in ‘wait and watch’ mode. Minister for Medical Education P. Sudarshan Reddy, who on Thursday promised to consult Chief Minister K. Rosaiah on the stipend issue, did not give any fresh assurances.

The authorities also made it clear that the State Government was not in a position to enhance the stipends because they did not have ‘financial clearance’ to do so. Given the ‘wobbly’ financial situation in the State, top health authorities are ruling out any chance of a hike in stipends of junior doctors in the near future.

With talks failing, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of APJUDA, after consulting with its members, decided to up the ante by taking indefinite hunger strike at Gandhi Hospital from Saturday. The medicos argued that the State Government has sufficient funds to take up irrigation projects and Arogyasri but does not have enough funds for teaching hospitals in the State.

“If authorities still do not take a positive action to our demands, then all emergency duties in teaching hospitals will be boycotted from Monday. As of now, the 14, 000 house surgeons and post-graduates in the State will not attend any classes, elective surgeries and out-patient services,” APJUDA members asserted.