Haryana minister Anil Vij hopes for early resolution to MBBS students' protest against bond policy
Chandigarh, Nov 25 (PTI) Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij on Friday said he was hopeful of an early resolution to MBBS students' protests over the state government's bond policy.
When asked about his comments on doctors at PGIMS-Rohtak going on an indefinite strike in solidarity with the agitation by MBBS students, Vij said he had spoked with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on the issue.
"I spoke with the chief minister and officials concerned and I am hopeful that the issue will be resolved in a day or two," Vij told reporters.
He told the striking doctors that holding protests was their democratic right but they should also keep patients' interests in mind.
Resident doctors at the Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS)-Rohtak went on an indefinite strike from Thursday in solidarity with the MBBS students' ongoing agitation against the state government's bond policy.
Barring emergency and trauma services, OPDs (outpatient departments), wards and elective surgeries will remain suspended till their demands are met, they said. The Manohar Lal Khattar-led government had earlier said only those candidates who deposited the Rs 10-lakh bond according to its November 2020 policy would be considered for admission to MBBS courses in government medical colleges from the upcoming academic session.
However, on November 2, Khattar said no student would have to deposit the bond amount at the time of admission for MBBS courses in government colleges.
The demands of the MBBS students include a reduction in the duration of compulsory government service from seven years to one year and the bond default amount to not exceed Rs 5 lakh.
On Friday evening, senior Haryana government officials, including Additional Chief Secretary (Health Department) G Anupama, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister V Umashankar, Additional Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Amit Kumar Agarwal, held a meeting with the students protesting against the policy.
According to an official statement, the students were told that the sole objective of the policy was to meet the shortage of doctors at government hospitals and that it was completely in the interest of the common man.
The students were also told that if they still had objections or apprehensions on any subject, they should give it in writing and the government would consider their demands sympathetically.
The officials also appealed to the students to call off the strike as the patients were facing problems.
Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala slammed the Khattar government over the issue and said, "Manohar Lal ji, If there is even an iota of decency and morality left, then instead of threatening the struggling medical students for their legitimate demands, fulfill their completely reasonable and legitimate demands immediately.
"Also, apologize to the people of the state who are facing inconvenience," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Surjewala also posted an office order dated November 24 issued by the PGIMS-Rohtak authority that directed the students to immediately call off their strike and said only then would their demands regarding amendments to the policy be negotiated.
If the strike is not called off immediately, actions such as vacation of hostels (by the hostellers) in 24 hours, will be taken, the order stated.
Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda also blamed the "insensitive attitude" of the government for the agitation.
The former chief minister said the medical students had been agitating for a month but the government remained "indifferent and callous".
"In PGI Rohtak, students are on hunger strike and protest but the government has chosen to remain indifferent to their protests and it seems that the suffering of the students makes no difference to the government," said Hooda in a statement on Friday.
"Now resident doctors and other medical staff have also come in support of the students. Due to their strike, the patients are facing a lot of problems," he added.
The Congress leader said that instead of ending the deadlock, the government is continuously engaged in "trying to escalate this into a confrontation." "Instead of accepting the legitimate demand of the students, the government is busy threatening them. Students are being threatened with expulsion from the hostel and an FIR against them," Hooda said. PTI SUN SZM