Services of 265 contractual doctors belonging to Maharashtra Association of Gazetted Medical Officers (MAGMO) was terminated on Sunday. They used to serve in primary health-care centres (PHCs), rural hospitals, sub-district and district hospitals across the state. Close to 12,000 doctors serving in the state public health department have been on an indefinite strike since July 1.
"The contracts of these doctors have been terminated with immediate effect. They had entered the strike in solidarity with permanent doctors since July 1," said Sujata Saunik, public health secretary.
Up to 6,665 permanent doctors in MAGMO, including specialists like gynaecologists, orthopaedicians and others, are demanding an enhanced pay scale of Rs1 lakh a month in line with the central government scheme of Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP).
The state finds their demand difficult to meet, considering the huge financial burden it may pose. "Calculations suggest that we will have to spend Rs1,784 crore to cater to DACP programme, which is a huge burden on the exchequer," said Saunik.
Two doctors in Mumbai have been sitting on an indefinite hunger strike at Azad Maidan in CST with hundreds of doctors gathering at the venue in support. "We have had several rounds of negotiations but it does not seem like they are calling off the strike," said Saunik.
On Monday, the state will instruct the police to take action under the Maharashtra Essential Services and Maintenance Act (MESMA) and possibly arrest the doctors for going on strike.
"MESMA is a harsh action and we are waiting and watching the situation currently," said Saunik.