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Contract nurses protest, mull strike

Contract nurses of Patna Medical College and Hospital on Sunday sported black badges at work as a mark of protest against the health departmentís inaction on their demand for hike in salary and regularisation of services.

Pramila Kumari, general secretary of the Contract Nursesí Association, confirmed that all 606 contract nurses wore black badges on duty at PMCH. Sources said the premier health hub, which has 820 nurses, is highly dependent on contract caregivers.

ďWe have been seeking regularisation of our services and hike in salary for a long time but in vain. A few months ago, the state government assured us that our services would be regularised through interviews. We did not agree to its proposal. Why do we need to qualify in the interview for regularisation of services?Ē asked Pramila Kumari.

She added: ďThe government should rather get our documents verified if they have any doubt about our educational qualifications. I donít think it should have any doubt about our calibre because we do the same work as regular nurses in PMCH. We work for around eight hours and in case of night duty, up to 12 hours. There is no difference between regular and contract nurses as far as duty hours and work are concerned. Tomorrow (Monday), we would gherao Lakhendra Prasad, the PMCH superintendent.Ē

The general secretary claimed that if the state government does not agree to her associationís demands, the contract nurses at PMCH would go on an indefinite strike after a month. Repeated calls to principal health secretary Deepak Kumar went unanswered.

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