The indefinite hunger strike by Andhra Pradesh Junior Doctors Association (APJUDA) demanding an increase in their stipend was called-off tonight after the state government and striking medicos reached an agreement.
“We have reached an understanding but I can’t announce the hike as the model code is in force for the corporation elections in Hyderabad. The junior doctors are ready to resume their duties immediately,” state Medical Education Minister P. Sudarshan Reddy told reporters.
With the agreement, the doctors numbering about 8,000 will return to work at government hospitals across the state, where medical services were severely affected since November 12.
“The government has responded positively to our demands. We will resume our duties immediately,” Raghu Kishore, a leader of APJUDA said.
The agreement came after the state invoked the stringent ESM Act and asked the doctors to join duty immediately.
Earlier, a division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, hearing a PIL, had asked the medicos to withdraw their strike.
The junior doctors who had intensified their agitation by resorting to fast-unto death at Gandhi Hospital here and relay hunger strikes at different districts since November 14, toned down their demands.
Finally, the doctors agreed to take a consolidated hike as proposed by the government with 15 per cent hike every two years, an APJUDA representative said.
Sources said as per the agreement to be implemented from January 2010, stipend for house surgeons has been increased to Rs. 8,000 from the current Rs. 5,000. For post graduate doctors, it will be in the range of Rs. 18,000 to Rs 20,000 from the existing Rs. 8,000 and for super specialities, the hike would be in the range of Rs. 20,000 to Rs 21,000 from the current Rs. 10,000, they said.