Bhopal: The eight-day long strike by over 70,000 nurses over 12 various demands is likely to end after the Madhya Pradesh High Court asked the state government to resolve the issue within two months by constituting a committee of four headed by the Chief Secretary.
In addition to that, the court on Wednesday ordered the nurses’ associations to call off their strike and resume the work from tomorrow.
Hearing a petition filed by the Nagirk Upbhogta Manch regarding the nurses' strike, the court on July 7 asked the government to form a four-member committee headed by Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bais, Additional Secretary, Health, Principal Secretary Finance and Health Commissioner to resolve the deadlock between the nurses and State within two months’ time.
As many as 40,000 permanent, 20,000 contractors and 10,000 nurses, hired during the Covid-19 pandemic by the National Health Mission ,have been on strike since June 30 in their respective district hospitals over the unfulfilled demands.
In a 12-point memorandum, they urged the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government to fulfill the demands made for the Front Line Workers (FLWs) during the pandemic and provide compensation to the deceased nurses’ families (Rs 50 lakh) and jobs to their family members on compassionate ground. Besides, they demanded a hike in stipend of nurses from Rs 3,000 per month to Rs 18,000, increased hiring of male nurses, payment of salaries as per the 7th Pay Commission, and implementation of pension schemes and others.
“Our demands are not new except the compensation to the family of nurses who died during Covid-19 related duty and posting to their family members on compassionate grounds. The slackness of the government over our longstanding demands prompted us to launch the protest,” said Rekha Pramar, President, Nurses Association Madhya Pradesh.
When asked about the court's decision to call off the strike, she replied, “We respect the court’s orders and are waiting for the order copy to decide our further course of action. The court's decision to constitute a committee is a welcoming move,” Rekha said.
Manju Meshram, a nurse associated with the movement, said that even though it has been a week since the nurses have been protesting, no one from the government approached them to resolve the issue.
“We met with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Indore, Health Minister Prabhuram Choudhary at his Bhopal bungalow and senior officials of the Health Department; some assured to fulfil our genuine demands and a meeting was called with Health Commissioner Nishant Warwade on July 5, but the officers did not turn up,” Rekha added.
Kanchna Khatarkar, Bhopal district president of nurse association, said, “Over 25,000 posts of nurses are lying vacant for years in Madhya Pradesh and that’s why the government hired over 10,000 nurses during the pandemic on a 3-4 months’ contract. The nurses worked day and night to save lives but instead of rewarding us for our work, the government did not pay any attention to our demands,” Kanchna told Newsclick.
Nearly a week ago, front line workers and ASHA-USHA workers also held a massive protest in Bhopal demanding to hike their pay as promised by the government during the Pandemic.