Return to work or get ready for police action, the state health department told the 12,000 doctors on strike.
The doctors, under the aegis of the Maharashtra Association of Gazetted Medical Officers (MAGMO), resigned on July 1 after talks with the government failed. MAGMO wants 821 doctors to be made permanent and central pay scale.
Speaking to the media, principal health secretary Sujata Saunik said the state had invoked MESMA (Maharashtra Essential Services and Maintenance Act) a month back when the doctors had initially struck work for a few days. As MESMA is already in force, their action right now is illegal, she said. She also said that only 56% officers had resigned.
A health department press release said it will put out advertisements in newspapers to hire doctors on a contractual basis.
Late on Saturday evening, MAGMO officials had an urgent meeting where they decided not to get intimidated by the state government.
Dr Prafull Bansode, state representative of MAGMO, said: "We will continue our agitation irrespective of the state government's threat. Till the cabinet approves our demands, we will not call back the strike but will intensify our efforts. Civil surgeons and district health officers are also joining us in the strike."