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ESI doctors in wage-cut war

Doctors affiliated to the ESI Hospitals and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) demonstrated in front of the regional director’s office on Tuesday to protest government apathy towards them.

Earlier this month, the ESI Corporation office had issued a circular, specifying that the number of allotted patients, mostly labourers, to ESI doctors was being brought down from 1,000 to 68 per doctor. An ESI doctor earns Rs 60 per year per family. To date, a doctor had 1,000 patients under him, which ensured him Rs 60,000 annually, but the circular has brought down their earnings drastically.

The aggrieved doctors complained that the authorities had favoured some of their colleagues by giving them patients in excess of 100, while others were given around 50 to 60. “There is a large disparity in the allotment process,” said Moloy Patra, branch secretary, IMA.

The IMA had earlier suggested that the authorities increase the fees from Rs 60 to Rs 120 per family, but their requests were turned down. After waiting for several weeks, Patra sent a letter a few days ago to Umesh Chandra Doley, regional director, ESI Hospitals, informing him that a delegation would meet him on Tuesday to discuss the issue. “On the day, the director refused to meet the delegates, saying he was busy,” said Patra.

Later, under pressure, Doley assured the IMA members that he would meet representatives of ESI doctors on December 11.

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