BHUBANESWAR/CUTTACK: Health services in the three Government medical college and hospitals along with other hospitals in the State were hit as contractual nurses went on a strike from Tuesday to press for regularisation of their services.
Contractual nurses from across the State converged in the Capital and staged a demonstration threatening to completely paralyse the health services if their demands were not conceded immediately.
The All Orissa Contractual Nurses’ Association alleged that more than 2,000 nurses, who have been appointed on contract, are being paid measly sum which is below the pay of even class IV employees of the Government.
The contractual nurses have been demanding regularisation of their services and increase of salary from Rs 5,200 pay band to Rs 9,300. The grade pay should also be increased from Rs 2,800 to Rs 4,600.
“Despite repeated requests and representations to the Government, no step has been taken forcing us to take to agitation,” general secretary Jayanti Sahoo said.
The Government on Tuesday assured them of considering the demands.
Following a meeting with Health Secretary Anu Garg and DMET Prof PK Dash, the nurses said the Government has taken 10 days to initiate action in the direction. If the action is not taken, the nurses said they would go on an indefinite strike.
To worsen the situation, the permanent nursing staff expressed solidarity with their contractual counterparts. They said nursing is one of the most important organs of the health care service delivery system and thus, there should not be any contractual or temporary appointments.
“We have been demanding abolition of the contractual recruitment and regularisation of the jobs of our sisters. There should not be any discrimination or disparity in the pay offered to the nurses doing the same work,” said Shrimati Sahoo, general secretary of the All Odisha Nursing Employees’ Association.
Meanwhile, the SCB Medical College and Hospital was severely affected by the ceasework.
The nurses, numbering more than 420, form the majority of the staff. The hospital had to manage with less than half the workforce with 262 regular nurses and 33 nursing sisters. Nursing students were deputed to manage the situation.