Special Correspondent

Following assurance that all demands will be met

They will meet Chief Minister today

CHENNAI: Medicos belonging to the Tamil Nadu Non Service Medical and Dental Post Graduate and Trainees Association gave up their protest and fast unconditionally on Thursday afternoon after Health Department officials assured them that their demands for increased stipend would be met.

Representatives of the medicos, who were unrelenting, were finally convinced that negotiations would be possible only if they gave up their strike and fast. One postgraduate trainee said they had been assured that the Chief Minister would meet all their demands if they unconditionally withdrew their protest. “We were encouraged by this and decided to call off the strike,” the student said.

On Thursday afternoon, about 15 students met with the Health Minister, Secretary and Director of Medical Education and conveyed their decision to withdraw their strike entirely. They have been promised a meeting with the Chief Minister on Friday morning.

The medicos launched their ‘no work’ strike on July 1 and stepped it up to a hunger fast from Monday last, rejecting the increase in stipend offered by the Health Department.

The association members claimed that non-service medical students in Tamil Nadu were being paid low stipends in comparison to their peers in the rest of the country. They went on to demand an increase in stipend for house surgeons from Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 10,000 and a hike in salary of postgraduate students from Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 25,000. Super-specialty students wanted a monthly salary of Rs. 28,000, against the present Rs. 9,500.

The government offered an increase up to Rs. 6,000 for house surgeons and up to Rs. 16,000 to postgraduates. Super specialists would get between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 17,000 as per the government offer.

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