THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The indefinite strike by the Dental College PG students, residents and house-surgeons which began on Monday, has badly hit the functioning of the three govt dental colleges in the state. The striking dental students are seeking stipends equivalent to that given to medical students.
“The stipend of the medical students was hiked to Rs 23,000, Rs 24,000 and Rs 25,000 in the first, second and third years by the last LDF Govt. However the order hiking our stipend of Rs 18,500 could not be passed because of election announcement. We had met the Health Minister several times regarding this, but without any result,” said Prashanth Soni, a student of the Thiruvananthapuram Dental College. When the talks with the Health Minister failed to materialise into action, the students went on an indefinite strike on Sept 22.
Adoor Prakash, who had invited them for a discussion, had asked the students to call-off the strike on the assurance that he would see to it that the govt order increasing stipend would be issued before October 20.
“It is now more than two months since Oct 20 and the order is supposedly stuck in the Finance Dept. We no longer believe in talks. What we want is a govt order and we shall continue this strike until we get it,” said Prashanth and other students, who had taken out a march to the DME’s office and staged a dharna on Monday.
With the senior residents, PG students, house-surgeons and even undergraduates joining in the strike, as many as 1,000 students in the state are on strike. This tools-down strike by the massive work-force will affect the casualty the most. Most accident cases, which come with facial and head injury have to be attended by dental students just as medical students. While the principals of the respective dental colleges have taken steps not to let the casualty treatment affected, all treatment procedures done by appointments have come to a standstill. “In our college, its the lean period for house-surgeons and the new batch is yet to come in. The functioning is dependant on residents and PG students and it would be difficult to find alternatives. But we will try our best not to let the casualty be affected by making other arrangements,” said Thiruvananthapuram Dental College principal Jolly Mary Varghese.