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Ailing healthcare worsens by persisting NHM protests

January 22, 2018

Srinagar, Jan 21: On 20th of December, a protest was staged by National Health Mission (Employees) at Pratap Park Srinagar and Press Club Jammu, demanding the government to regularise their services.

The protest entered 33rd day on Sunday, yet, there has been no sign of compromise from neither the government nor the employees.

In the tussle between the government and NHM employees, health services have been majorly hit all across Jammu and Kashmir.

The emergency services in the main hospitals, Primary Health Centres, and sub-centres are severely affected in the absence of proper and trained staff.

The Intensified Pulse Polio Immunisation (IPPI) campaign, which will be held on 28th of January in Kashmir, is going to get affected in a similar way, as the NHM staffs here don’t think “the government needs them, and thus there won’t be any participation from their end”.

The last year’s IPPI campaign, too, had seen a sign of protest by the NHM employees as they had performed their duties wearing a black band on their arm.

However, this year, as per the Spokesman of the Joint Employees Coordination Committee Abdul Rauoof, the employees won’t be taking part in the campaign unless “the government doesn’t ask them to”.

“There have been already so many instances where non-professionals are hired by the government to replace us. The cleaners are seen checking blood pressure, the interns are asked to perform night duties, and it’s really sad to see that,” revealed Rauoof.

Although, Mission Director NHM, Dr Mohan Singh believes the IPPI campaign “won’t be affected” by the absence of NHM staff.

Singh also told The Kashmir Monitor that the government is trying it’s best to “convince” the NHM staff to call off the strike, and he is expecting the protestors to “cooperate”.

However, as per the spokesman, the NHM employees are in no mood of calling off the strike unless the government doesn’t promise them a salary hike of 100 percent in “written”, to the least.

“We have only two major demands – frame a concrete policy regarding employee’s regularization, and give us a 100 percent hike,” Rauoof said.

“Meet our demands and that is it,” he added.

Comparing the salary structure of the employees in J&K and other states of India, Rauoof explained, “Here, the doctors that earn Rs 15,000, in places like Assam, Delhi, Mumbai, their salary is not less than 60,000. Is it fair?”

Rauoof also said that the government is “manipulating” the staff by promising them a mere hike of three to five percent.

“But I am telling you, none of us are going to agree to that,” he said.

Rauoof believes that still after over a month of protest, the government hasn’t taken them “seriously”.

“They have set a committee to look after our demands, right? Then where is it? Give us the details? We are aware of what the government is doing for us, and what it is not,” said Rauoof.

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