AHMEDABAD: At least 450 intern doctors of three civil hospitals attached to medical colleges run by a Gujarat government-controlled entity went on an indefinite strike on Thursday, claiming that they had not been paid the "Covid allowance" promised by the government.
The agitating intern doctors belong to medical colleges run by the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS) in Sola area of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Valsad.
After completing their MBBS course, medical students are required to undertake internships at hospitals before they are granted permission to start their own practice.
According to the agitating students, the state government had in April announced that intern doctors of government and GMERS-run medical colleges will get Rs 5,000 as monthly Covid allowance over and above their stipend for the months of March till June for COVID-19 duty.
"While interns of the government-run colleges have received the allowance promised by the government, intern doctors of GMERS-run colleges were not given the sum. Although we made a representation to the authorities several times in the past, there was no positive response. Hence, 450 intern doctors of these three colleges have decided to go on an indefinite strike," one of the interns said.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who handles the health portfolio, assured that the issue will be resolved soon.
In a warning tone, Patel asked the striking doctors to join duty and show some "concern" for patients.
"Internship is a must for any medical student. These students must be thankful to the government for arranging their internship at respective government hospitals and also giving them allowances. It's the government which showed a big heart, not the intern doctors," Patel claimed.
"They have to complete their internship even if we do not give any allowance, because it's a must to become a doctor. In private medical colleges, students have to pay from their pockets to do an internship. These intern doctors should show some concern for patients," he added.