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Minister’s promise ends health stir

Ranchi, Jan. 12: Over 62,000 contractual employees working under the Jharkhand Rural Health Mission (JRHM) called off their indefinite strike last night following assurances from state health minister Rajendra Prasad Singh that their salary increment would be released at the earliest.

On Thursday, the health personnel had launched the stir across the state to mount pressure on the government for minimum annual increments, which have been pending for the last two years.

Around 9pm last night, the health minister went to the protest site near Birsa Chowk where a group of employees were sitting on a hunger strike and promised to fulfil their demand in the next cabinet meeting.

“I have always accepted that their demand is genuine and they should have received their increments. That they were forced to go on indefinite strikes (once earlier) for something which they were wrongfully denied is unfortunate,” Singh told The Telegraph over the phone.

Rahul Pratap, the state president of NRHM Anubandhit Karmchari Sangh, confirmed that the strike had been called off and employees would join work in their respective places of posting from tomorrow.

Notably, a similar assurance was given by the minister in October last year, too, but to no avail. Pratap said, “All we can do is trust the minister. Releasing or not releasing the funds is in his hands only.”

But what if the department fails to fulfil its promise once again? “Even he has admitted that our demand is genuine. So we have to wait and watch for the time being. But, if he does not keep his words, we will be forced to think of something else, may be as extreme as self-immolation, the next time,” he threatened.


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