CHANDIGARH: Government doctors in Punjab on Saturday decided to abstain from work for three days from July 12 to July 14 in protest against silence of the state government over their issue of non-practicing allowance.
They also threatened to go on indefinite strike from July 19 if their issues were not resolved by the state government.
Doctors working in government hospitals have been protesting against the recommendation of Punjab's Sixth Pay Commission de-linking non-practicing allowance from the basic pay.
They are also agitating against the pay commission's recommendation of reduction in the allowance from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.
The decision to boycott health and veterinary services from July 12 to 14 was taken by the the Joint Government Doctors Coordination Committee (JGDCC) which has members from the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) and is supported by the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association, Rural Medical Officers Association, Punjab Dental Medical Officers Association and Punjab Ayurveda Officers Association.
PCMSA president Dr Gagandeep Singh on Saturday told PTI that the state government's silence over their demands forced them to announce a strike again.
The strike will hamper health services including outpatient department (OPD).
Besides, veterinary services will also remain shut.
However, emergency services, post-mortem and COVID-related services will continue.
The government doctors had already held strikes three times over the allowance issue.
The JGDCC also decided that all the doctors in the state would boycott the government OPDs from July 15 till 17 and parallel OPD services would be run during this period in the lawns of hospitals so that the persons who are in need would not be deprived of availing health and veterinary services.
They further announced that during the boycott of health services, all the doctors of the state would also donate blood while area-wise blood donation camps would be organised.
The JGDCC said the state health minister had recently assured the Joint Committee to resolve the issue within a week but no action has been taken by the government in this regard even after a week.
Convener of JGDCC Dr Inderveer Gill said the agitation over the allowance is to save the public healthcare system.
"We will oppose any move of the government that is directed to destroy it. Doctors of the state did not want to close down the health and veterinary services but the government was pursuing a policy of evasion instead of resolving the issue of non-practicing allowance," he said.
The JGDCC said if the government did not resolve the issue over the allowance by July 18, all the health and veterinary doctors across the state would go on indefinite strike from July 19.