BHUBANESWAR: Veterinarians in the State on Sunday threatened to cease work if they were denied audience with the Chief Minister to put forth their demands.
The vets have been agitating here since Wednesday demanding salary and work benefits on par with general medicine practitioners, regularisation of the services of vets appointed on contractual basis, regular appointment through Odisha Public Service Commission and pay hike as per the sixth Pay Commission.
At an emergency meeting here in the morning, it was decided that veterinarians across the State will join the strike and cease work from March 28 if their demands are not conceded. Veterinary doctors and students alleged absence of regular jobs in the profession had forced many fresh graduates to join banking and insurance sectors.
Regular recruitment of veterinary graduates through the Odisha Public Service Commission has been stopped since 2008. And this despite the fact that 244 regular posts of assistant veterinary surgeon under the State Government are lying vacant.
At present, on completion of the five-year BSc course in Science and Animal Husbandry from OUAT, the graduates get appointment as veterinary assistant surgeons on contractual basis with a consolidated salary of ` 9,300.
“There are no regular jobs for veterinary pass-outs since the 2008 batch. We have been appointed on contractual basis with just ` 9,300 per month which is a pittance today,” said Bhabani Shankar Behera, a veterinarian.
Under the aegis of Odisha Veterinary Association, the veterinarians and veterinary students alleged that notwithstanding their professional degrees, the State Government has been indifferent to their job demands. As a result, there is a decline in the number of veterinary graduates willing to continue in the field. While 51, 58 and 48 veterinary graduates passed out in 2008, 2009 and 2010, only 28, 38 and 31 from the respective batches have joined as veterinarians. “The 5th Central Pay Commission had observed that a degree in veterinary science is comparable to an MBBS degree and holders of those degrees in both cases are registered and authorised to practise medicine, authenticate health certificates and give evidence as experts under the Indian Evidence Act,” Association president Tanmay Kumar Mohanty said.