Doctors’ protest: WB Governor Tripathi says Mamata unresponsive

KOLKATA: West Bengal’s Raj Bhavan has Keshari Nath Tripathi has accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of being “non-responsive” to his efforts of trying to resolve the ongoing standoff between her government and junior doctors.

Doctors’ protest: WB Governor Tripathi says Mamata unresponsive

Doctors participate in a rally to show solidarity to protest against an attack on intern junior doctor in West Bengal at AIIMS in New Delhi on Saturday, PTI photo

Shubhadeep Choudhury                                                                          
Tribune News Service                                                                            
Kolkata, June 16

West Bengal’s Raj Bhavan has Keshari Nath Tripathi has accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of being “non-responsive” to his efforts of trying to resolve the ongoing standoff between her government and junior doctors.  

A communique issued from the Raj Bhavan said 84-year-old Tripathi wrote to Mamata Banerjee expressing his “sadness at her non- responsiveness to his efforts to talk to her”.

Tripathi said he had written to Banerjee on Friday about the protesting doctors’ grievances and demands. According to the Raj Bhavan communique, Tripathi had promised doctor’s associations that he would flag their issues with the state government when they met him recently. 

The Governor also appealed to the doctors to resume working, added the communique. 

In the letter he wrote on Friday, Tripathi told the Chief Minister she should meet the protesters to offer them adequate security and tell them she would look into their grievances. 

“I understand that no meeting with agitating Doctors has been held by the government till now,” Tripathi wrote, adding that he should be kept updated about the state government’s actions in the issue.

Mamata however refused to answer the Governor’s questions. She however said that she agreed with Tripathi and that she had already spoken to the Governor on the subject.

Meanwhile, junior doctors have agreed to meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, but said it should be open for media coverage. The development came as protests entered the sixth day on Sunday.

Earlier, the agitators had insisted that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visit the city's NRS Medical College and Hospital, the epicentre of the agitation.

After an internal meeting late on Saturday, the doctors, who had turned down an invite for a closed-door meeting with Banerjee at the state secretariat, mellowed down and stated that they were ready to hold a dialogue in any form, but the venue of the meeting would be decided later.

"We will be deciding on our next step during a governing body meeting today. We are open to any dialogue as always. The venue for the meeting will be decided soon," a spokesperson of a joint forum of junior doctors told reporters here.

During a press conference at the state secretariat on Saturday, Banerjee urged protestors to resume work and said her government had accepted all of their demands.

She also stressed that a group of doctors had met her and expressed their willingness to join duty, a claim vehemently refuted by the striking doctors.

During the meet, the chief minister emphasised that her government had not invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to get the doctors to resume work.

"We have laws, but we do not want to use them. ... We are not going to take any stringent action against any of the agitating junior doctors and hamper their career," she said after the agitators did not turn up for a meeting at 5 pm.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an advisory, seeking a report on the ongoing stir and stating that it had received a number of representations from the medical fraternity from different parts of the country for their safety and security in view of the strike in West Bengal.

Bengal Governor KN Tripathi has written to Banerjee, advising her to take immediate steps to provide security to the medicos and find out a solution to the impasse.

The chief minister said she had spoken to the governor and apprised him of the steps taken by her government to resolve the matter.

Doctors across the state called for a strike after two of their colleagues were brutally assaulted at the NRS Medical College and Hospital by the family members of a patient, who died on Monday night.

The services continue to remain affected in the emergency wards, outdoor facilities and pathological units of many state-run hospitals and private medical facilities in the state, leaving several patients in the lurch.

The Calcutta High Court had on Friday refused to pass any interim order on the strike by the junior doctors.

It had also asked the state government to persuade the doctors to resume work. With PTI

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