Assuring the government doctors of considering their demand for wage revision, Karnataka Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar on Friday urged them to call off their strike and report for duty.
“Going on strike at a time when the state government and other stakeholders were fighting the pandemic, does not behold the doctors as their absence is affecting healthcare, especially Covid-19 patients,” Sudhakar told reporters at an event here.
Though the Karnataka Government Medical Officers’ Association agreed to withdraw the strike at a meeting with the state health department recently, many of its 5,000 members have not been reporting for duty since September 15, demanding salary revision, among other things.
Asserting that the state government was committed to addressing the concerns of the doctors, the minister said it was inhuman for anyone to use the Covid-19 situation for one’s gain.
Admitting that the doctors had a great responsibility in the fight against the deadly disease, Sudhakar hoped they would withdraw the strike and report for duty from Saturday.
Inaugurating the molecular diagnostic laboratory and the skill training center of B. R. Ambedkar Medical College in the city’s south-east suburb, the minister said the chief minister (B.S. Yediyurappa) had agreed to some of the demands, including wage revision, and was waiting for the nod of the state finance department.
“The salaries of doctors under the state health department will be based on 6-year, 13-year, and 20-year promotion,” said Sudhakar.
The doctors also sought to pay parity with their counterparts in the state medical education department or as per the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS).
With 1,03,631 active cases, Karnataka ranked second after Maharashtra on the country’s Covid-19 tracker on Thursday.
Though 4,94,356 patients tested positive since March 8 across the southern state, 3,83,077 were discharged to date, while 7,629 have succumbed to the virus so far.
“As we are conducting about 75,000 tests per day, we are recording more positive cases and the pandemic is under control in the state compared to other southern states,” asserted Sudhakar.
The state government is also increasing beds in the intensive care units (ICU) of the state-run hospitals, especially in Bengaluru where more patients are being admitted.
“We are increasing ICU beds and ventilators due to rise in severe cases, while beds in general wards are adequate for new cases,” Sudhakar added.