Strike continues for the third day

The Rajasthan Government requisitioned the services of the Army, Border Security Force and the Railways on Friday to cope with the situation arising out of the State-wide strike by doctors which continued for the third day. There was no respite in the intensity of the strike even as more striking doctors were taken into custody under the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA).

The medical teachers and the private practitioners in the State kept away from work for two hours during the day acting in solidarity with their brethren on strike demanding promotions and enhanced rural allowance.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who convened a meeting of the senior officials of the Army, BSF and the Railways, reiterated the Government's stand on the striking doctors' demand. “There is no justification for the strike. The doctors have been provided for and given a good package,” he said.

The meeting was attended by Health Minister A.A. Khan, State Chief Secretary A. Ahmed, BSF Commandant Dinesh Gurjar and North Western Railway General Manager R.C. Agarwal, besides senior bureaucrats from the State Government.

A directive from the High Court asked the Government to ensure maintenance of medical facilities. On a petition from Shanti Lal Jain of Pali, a Division Bench of the High Court's Principal Bench asked the Government to ensure that alternative facilities are made available for treatment of patients. The petitioner had urged the Court to declare the doctors' strike “illegal”.

The Government has asked the private hospitals to treat patients free of charge with a promise to bear the expenses. The authorities also sought the service of retired doctors with an offer to pay them Rs.2,000 daily in the case of MBBS doctors and an additional Rs.1000 to the specialists.