NHM employees, docs strike enters 3rd day

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Mar 4: The State -wide strike launched by National Health Mission (NHM) employees of Health and Medical Education Department has entered the third day today.
About 13,000 employees of Health Department working under NHM a Centrally sponsored scheme have struck work for last three days all over the State demanding equal pay for equal work and their regularization under SRO 255.
According to Khursheed Ahmed, president Health and Family Welfare Employees Confederation the scheme was launched in 2007 and about 13,000 employees including a sizable number of doctors, paramedical staff, technicians, lab assistants nurses etc are working on contractual basis since then.
He said they have gone on indefinite strike for last three days demanding their regularization or enhancement of pay in accordance with equal pay for equal work.
These employees are asked to submit affidavit every year that they will not demand regularization which is total injustice and of human rights violation also, he added.
Extending full support to the NHM employees he said their organization is fully with them in their struggle.
The strike has affected normal work in hospitals especially in Kashmir Valley as the doctors and para medical staff is not able to tackle with the rush of patients.
“We are facing injustice for last over nine years” said Mohit Seth Vice president NHM Employees Jammu. He said tomorrow the employees will hold talks with Mission Director NHM, Dr Mohan Singh at Srinagar. “In case the talks fail and there was no agreement on demands then we will go for indefinite strike”, he added.
The future course of action will be disclosed in the press conference both at Srinagar and Jammu simultaneously following the outcome of talks with Mission Director, he added.
He said the employees are also demanding ending salary disparity, implementation of PF scheme, and maternity leave benefits as given to other regular employees.
Criticizing the Government policy another employee Jasmail Singh said that a technician is paid Rs 12,000 as salary under NHM and a doctor Rs 22,000 to 23,000 under this scheme which is total injustice as a laborer earns Rs 15000 per month at present.  So we demand enhancement of salaries and other benefits given to other regular employees.
Meanwhile some trade unionists have also extended full support to the NHM employees. The Pensioners and Senior Citizens Welfare Association president and veteran Trade Union leader Mir Ghulam Rasool Butwani has alleged that government was exploiting these employees and taking undue advantage of unemployment.
He said the work has suffered in the hospitals due to their strike and patients were suffering. He said there are thousands of posts of doctors and para medical staff vacant in the State and Government should fill up them besides regularizing the NHM staff.
When contacted Dr Mohan Singh Mission Director NHM said that he is going to Srinagar tomorrow to hold talks with striking NHM workers and will try to find a solution to end the present strike. Maintaining that these employees are working on one year contractual basis, he said whatever will be possible at his level will do but the decision regarding their regularization and enhancement of wages is to be taken by Government.