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Health workers on indefinite strike in Raipur against govt over demands

The health workers, who started the strike on August 22, said that if their demands are not met, it might cause the ruling Congress some damage during the upcoming Assembly elections

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The health workers worked during the pandemic without leave for two years

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Ahead of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, 40,000 health workers in the state are holding an indefinite strike against the state government over their demands.

The health workers, who started the strike on August 22 at the Tuta dharna site in Raipur, warned the government that if their demands are not met, it might cause the ruling Congress some damage during the upcoming elections in the state.

The health department employees raised demands that included an increase in salary and Covid-19 allowance.

Employees from all 33 districts reached Raipur to participate in this indefinite strike, which has impacted the health facilities across the state.

Tarjan Gupta, president of the Chhattisgarh Health Federation, said that the workers worked during the pandemic without leave for two years.

"We have worked by risking our lives. Even now, if any disaster strikes, we will postpone the strike and return to work. We have so much humanity. But despite the normalcy coming, the regular employees of the health department are being ignored by the government. The supplementary budget was ignored on August 15, the birthday of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. We were hopeful that our demands would be fulfilled. But it didn't happen, that's why we are on a strike," Gupta said.

In the Covid-19 period, we were given the status of God and the government showered flowers from the helicopter, Gupta said.

The employees on strike said that on August 1, they had informed the government about their demands and had also met Health Minister T S Singh Deo. Following the talks, on August 11, there was a one-day movement.

"Even after this, no legal discussion has been done on behalf of the government. Due to this, all the health workers of Chhattisgarh are angry. It is a matter of shame that the government is ignoring the health department. When we were doing vaccinations during the Covid-19 period, the minister showered flowers on us and gave us the status of God. Today, God is sitting on the road, and is being insulted," a health worker said.

No vote if demands are not met, say workers

The health workers said that if their demands were unmet, the entire Chhattisgarh Health Federation would not vote, including their families and other people associated with them.

The Chhattisgarh Health Federation has placed its five-point demand before the government, which includes salary discrepancy of nursing cadre employees, pending pay scale of doctors, allowances and stipend, coronavirus allowance, and violence with nursing staff happening in the hospital.

The federation is formed by 12 state-level organisations, which have 5,200 sub-health centres, 600 primary health centres, 150 community health centres, 33 district hospitals, and employees of all medical colleges in Chhattisgarh.

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First Published: Aug 29 2023 | 6:45 PM IST

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