Thirty-six paramedical staffers at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial (MGM) Hospital in Parel have been languishing without pay for the last eight months. The staffers had quit their earlier jobs without serving notice because MGM authorities allegedly had not informed them well in time of their selection.
They, therefore, had to forfeit one or two months’ salary to their previous firms to end their contract in order to join the government facility, in the hope of better prospects and more security. But both elude them.
“We have been working eight hours a day for past eight months without a pay and a close-to-invisible existence,” a hectored staffer said. The staffers, recruited under Employees’ State Insurance Corporation’s (ESIC) Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science and Research (PGIMSR) vacancies, claim that despite repeatedly bringing it to the attention of hospital authorities and the state government through various communications, the issue remains unresolved.
While the central government has transferred the salary funds to the state government, these employees have not been paid. MiD DAY has a copy of the documents proving the issue and the letter confirming the transfer of funds from the centre.
Following an advertisement for vacancies of paramedical staff at MGM hospital, several qualified applicants applied for the posts. Of these, 36 were selected and appointed at MGM in July 2012. They were informed that their salaries would be funded by the centre and directed to the hospital through the state government.
One of the paramedics said on the condition of anonymity, “We were informed about our selection through a phone call from the hospital and were given two days to join the hospital. At such short notice, we had no option but to cancel our job contract without serving the notice period with our previous employers. Now we are stuck here with no pay for the past eight months.”
Sources confirmed that authorities at MGM had told them initially that due to delay in documentation procedure, they would not receive their salaries for the first three months on time. They were assured that the dues would be paid along with their salary in their fourth month of employment. But even after repeated attempts to claim the pending salaries, they are yet to receive it.
The paramedics have been provided documents confirming that the ESIC had transferred the funds for clearing the pending salaries for six months around November 2012. This transferred amount of Rs 41,95,210 is still pending with the state government.
Most of these staff members are the sole breadwinners of their families and have been struggling to make ends meet. One staffer even lost his father to an ailment due to his inability to bear his medical expenses, he alleged. But bereft of options, he continues to work at the hospital.
Some staffers have already mortgaged jewellery of their family members and have exhausted all their savings. They claim that when it comes to work, there are several officials who impose their authority over them but refrain from addressing the salary problems of these staffers.
The other side
Dr Nimish Shah, medical superintendent, MGM hospital told MiD DAY, “These staff members were recruited to fulfill the requirements laid down by the Medical Council of India for setting up a medical college. MGM hospital is a trust hospital and salaries of all the employees are paid by the central and the state governments in 7:1 ratio.”
He added, “The central government has transferred the pending salaries until November 2012 to the state and has directed it to transfer them to MGM hospital. But due to bureaucratic problems, the state is yet to release the funds.” T C Benjamin, additional chief secretary (public health), said, “The issue is being sorted out. State health minister Suresh Shetty has cleared the funds and the paramedical staff should get it in the next two days.”