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Medic stipend strike threat

Patna, Dec. 30: Postgraduate students of Patna Medical College and Hospital today threatened to go on a strike after seven days if they were not paid stipend and provided accommodation on the campus.

According to the norms of Medical Council of India, a college has to pay the students a monthly stipend and provide them accommodation on campus. Angry over not being provided the facilities, the postgraduate students met the PMCH superintendent and his deputy with their demands today. They are forced to stay in private hostels and have not been paid their stipend for the past six months.

The students threatened a strike if their demands were not fulfilled within seven days.

Rakesh Kumar, president, Junior Doctors’ Association, and one of the postgraduate students, said: “Today we met superintendent Amar Kant Jha Amar and deputy superintendent Bimal Karak and apprised them of our demands. The students have not been paid their stipend for the past six months. Many of us are living in private hostels and have to pay huge amounts of money for food and lodging. We have told the officials that if our issues are not solved in seven days, we will go on strike.”

Sources said the students are supposed to get Rs 30,000 as stipend that is sufficient for their monthly expenditure. If the new hostel on the campus is handed over to the students, at least 220 students — undergraduate and postgraduate — living in private hostels can shift there.

Rakesh added that the junior doctors have approached the medical college officials earlier as well but no steps were taken.

Nitant, another postgraduate student, said: “Two months ago, we had met college principal N.P. Yadav over non-payment of our stipend. He had told us there was some problem in the treasury, which was returning the bills sent by the college authorities. There must have been errors in the bills, otherwise, why would the treasury return those time and again? Whatever is the reason, the college and hospital administration cannot shirk their responsibility. They have to solve the problem, as several students are affected.”

Repeated attempts by The Telegraph to contact Amar and Karak proved futile.

A senior teacher of Patna Medical College said: “The students have taken admission after clearing an all-India examination. They deserve to be provided with every facility. If you don’t give them money and provide them proper accommodation, how can you expect them to deliver good service? The medical college students work at the hospital too and mental peace is very important for them to work efficiently. But, in these conditions, I don’t think the postgraduate and undergraduate students can work effectively.”