Mamata will meet injured doctor only after strike ends

In the course of the meeting with junior doctors on Monday at Nabanna, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told them they must lift the strike first and only then she would visit Dr Paribaha Mukherjee  

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said she would go to the hospital where the victim of mob attack Dr Paribaha Mukherjee is lodged only after the striking doctors end the strike.

The chief minister said this in a meeting with junior doctors at Nabanna (Bengal government headquarters) after they requested her to visit their critically injured peer. Sirf News had earlier reported this meeting was scheduled for 1 PM today.

The doctors said they would hold a meeting amongst themselves to decide whether this condition put forth by Mamata Banerjee should be accepted by them, a junior doctor said.

However, the doctors also assured the people that they would try their best to resume work as early as possible.

Now onwards, there will be a nodal Officer to look after the situation in all government hospitals, it was decided in today’s meeting between the chief minister and the junior doctors. There will be one nodal officer for every Kolkata hospital while, in the rest of the State, there will be one per district.

Every doctor will have the phone number of the nodal officer concerned. Besides, a PR executive will be recruited for government hospitals. The PR officers will work in three shifts. They will talk to the patients’ families.

The above decisions were taken in the meeting of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with junior doctors at Nabanna on Monday.

The chief minister issued an instruction to install collapsible gates at the entrances of all government hospitals. The hospital will not allow more than two people to enter together.

Strong steps are being taken to prevent the entry of outsiders. All these steps will be implemented the next week, the chief minister said.

There will be fixed cells in hospitals to register complaints of patients’ families.

During the meeting, the doctors took serious exception to the accusation of the chief minister that they were turning “communal”. “Amra podobi dekhe chikitsa korina (we do not treat people, looking at their surnames),” a doctor said to Mamata Banerjee, he told Sirf News. The chief minister reportedly cut a sorry face, saying, “Of course, you shouldn’t.”

The chief minister appealed to the junior doctors to return to work. She said, “Citizens should be sensitised. People should be the law unto themselves. The police must be more active.”

Then Mamata Banerjee said reportedly, “If the doctors return to work, I will go to see Paribaha.” The doctors said they would get back to her to tell her whether this condition was acceptable.

After putting forth six demands in the course of the agitation, the doctors today handed over a 12-point charter of demands to the chief minister. It reads, “We have been in a very troubling situation. We want to return to work very soon. But the environment needs to be corrected. Manhandling a doctor has become a tendency of some people. If they were a few, we could have handled it. We have been persecuted for a long time and today we feel helpless. We sincerely have full confidence in you. We want a solution.”

The State government says there is no false case against the doctors. Five people have been arrested for the incident of assault on doctors on 10 June. The State has lodged a tough case against them. An investigation has started into the incident of that night at the NRS.

A spokesperson of the protesting doctors said, “The chief minister is the face of security, we want her to be on our side.”

“We want the chief minister to stand with the junior doctors,” the spokesperson said. The chief minister replied, “The State government is with you.”

The junior doctors presented before the chief minister a memorandum about the lack of adequate health infrastructure in the city and the State. The chief minister listened to all the complaints. She reportedly assured the doctors she would address the issues.

Mamata Banerjee said, “The recruitment in health services has improved in the last seven years. The improvement in health infrastructure has been delayed due to the election. More than 10 medical colleges will be built this year.”

Surajit Dasgupta

By Surajit Dasgupta

The founder of Sirf News has been a science correspondent in The Statesman, senior editor in The Pioneer, special correspondent in Money Life and columnist in various newspapers and magazines, writing in English as well as Hindi. He was the national affairs editor of Swarajya, 2014-16. He worked with Hindusthan Samachar in 2017. He was the first chief editor of Sirf News and is now back at the helm after a stint as the desk head of MyNation of the Asianet group.

He is a mathematician by training with interests in academic pursuits of science, linguistics and history. He advocates individual liberty and a free market in a manner that is politically feasible. His hobbies include Hindi film music and classical poetry in Bengali, English, French, Hindi and Urdu.