Chief Minister will convene a meeting on Thursday, says Minister Limbavali

Assuring the agitating government doctors of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar convening a meeting in Bangalore on Thursday to sort out their issues, Health and Family Welfare Minister Arvind Limbavali on Wednesday appealed to the doctors to withdraw their strike call.

Doctors working under the Department of Health and Family Welfare have threatened to go on an indefinite total strike from December 21 demanding withdrawal of 10 district hospitals from the Medical Education Department. Their other demands include amendments in the transfer policy of doctors and creation of an account head for payment of salaries of Health Department staff.

Addressing presspersons on the sidelines of a regional review workshop on the Union Government’s Family Planning Programme here, Mr. Limbavali said that he briefed the Chief Minister of the demands of the doctors in the morning.

A Cabinet sub-committee, headed by Deputy Chief Minister R Ashok, has been set up to look into the doctors’ demands. A notification was issued on Tuesday.

Pointing out that he had had a meeting with the doctors in Belgaum a fortnight ago, the Health Minister said that the required amendments to doctors’ transfer policy were being worked out. “Their grouse that salaries of the Health Department staff are not being paid regularly because the zilla panchayats authorised to make the payments were diverting the funds has been discussed with the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister. We are working out the feasibility of creating an account head to make the payments,” he said.

“I request the doctors to withdraw their strike call as their protest will cause hardship to patients, especially in the rural areas,” he said.

Promising the doctors that seven other district hospitals would also be not attached to the proposed new colleges in Chamarajanagar, Tumkur, Haveri, Chitradurga, Koppal, Gadag and Madikeri, Mr. Limbavali said: “Following the relaxation of norms by the Medical Council of India for starting new government medical colleges, we will allow the Medical Education Department to use the clinical facilities of our hospitals through a memorandum of understanding.”