It is nothing but shocking that nurses and paramedics, who are known as corona warriors, have halted healthcare services and gone on indefinite strike as many as 28 times in the last 7 years just to get their salary at North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC)-run Hindu Rao Hospital (HRH) in the Malka Ganj area of the national capital.
Around 1000 healthcare workers of HRH, Babu Jagjeevan Ram and Girdharli Lal hospitals and maternity centers have been on strike for the last 16 days in protest against unpaid salaries.
Repeatedly going on indefinite strike for just getting the basic right of salary has become a routine affair for the healthcare workers including nurses, paramedics and other staff at HRH.
The demoralized corona warriors lamented that they face neglect from the Delhi government, the Central government and the NDMC and they have to strike work even in times of corona pandemic. They pointed out that despite being the backbone of the healthcare services, nobody cares about them.
Lab technicians, X-ray technicians, nurses and other healthcare workers spoke to DTMT about their long pending issue of unpaid salaries and other problems that they face in one of the biggest healthcare facilities in North Delhi.
The workers lamented that they had to halt work 28 times in the last 7 years just to get their salary. They have blamed politicians, trifurcation of corporations and bureaucracy for their pathetic condition.
Mr Tejender Singh, President, Paramedics, HRH, told DTMT that just 3 months ago, all the nurses, paramedics, clerks and other staff had to strike work for getting the salary. Now they are planning in advance for future strike for getting the salary, he said.
This is the state of affairs in the hospital upon which thousands of patients depend for healthcare in North Delhi. The repeated strike has impacted these services as major surgeries are postponed and OPDs are left unattended by these workers. It would not be wrong to say that the hospital has become useless due to strikes.
Mr Singh pointed out that trifurcation of MCD has only resulted in less earning and lack of funds due to which healthcare and other workers are left unpaid. Situation has come to a level that if they get the salary even for one month after strike, they are overjoyed. It has been 16 days and no leader and no official has come to them for solving the problems, he explained.
Mr Singh stressed that the workers are not happy to protest or strike. They want to work. Most of the patients come here from poor families. They feel sorry for striking work. Earlier, 50 surgeries used to be performed on daily basis. But now there is a long queue for surgeries. "We cannot do anything, we have to run our family as our livelihood depends on what we get from here," he emphasized.
Indu Jamwal, President, Nursing Union, HRH, told DTMT, “Our basic amenities have suffered. Even daily up down from residence to hospital has been impacted a lot. Our children are pursuing higher studies which have been impacted. It is a complete setback and total failure from the government as they are not bothered about people and employees.”
Both Jamwal and Mr Singh blamed the Municipal Corporation's trifurcation and politics for their plight. They believe that governments, including AAP-led Delhi, BJP lead Center and NDMC are responsible for their problem.