Bengal doctors agree for talks with Mamata Banerjee, but in open

Updated: Jun 17, 2019, 12:13 IST | Agencies

Say the chief minister can pick a venue of her choice, provided the meeting is held in the presence of media persons, and not behind closed doors

Bengal doctors agree for talks with Mamata Banerjee, but in open
A patient is seen lying on a stretcher as in the background junior doctors hold placards during a protest at North Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri on Sunday. Pic/AFP

Kolkata: Agitating junior doctors in West Bengal softened their stand on Sunday and asserted that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was free to decide the venue of the meeting with them, but stressed that it should be held in open. Banerjee had on Saturday invited the agitators for closed-door talks, but the offer was turned down by them.

Talking to the media after a two-and-half-hour-long meeting of their governing body, a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors said, "We are keen to end this impasse. We are ready to hold talks with the chief minister at a venue of her choice, provided it is held in the open, in the presence of media persons, and not behind closed doors." The spokesperson said the venue should be spacious enough to accommodate representatives from all medical colleges and hospitals in the state. Earlier, the agitators had insisted that Banerjee visit the NRS Medical College and Hospital, the epicentre of the agitation.

"We want to join our duties as early as possible in the best interests of the common people once all our demands are met with adequately and logically through a discussion. "We are hopeful that the chief minister will be considerate enough to solve the problems," he said, adding that the strike would continue till a solution was worked out.

Junior doctors across the state are observing a strike in protest against an assault on two of their colleagues at the NRS, allegedly by the family members of a patient who died on Monday night. Services continued to remain affected for the sixth day on Sunday 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.

Patients bear the brunt as protest goes on

Patients have been facing the heat of junior doctors' protest in West Bengal as services remained affected in state-run hospitals and colleges for the sixth day on Sunday. At SSKM hospital in Kolkata, Raiganj-resident Samuel Haque, who was admitted with a cardiac problem, was supposed to undergo tests on Tuesday and subsequently he was to be operated. But now no doctor is attending to him and senior doctors say they don't have enough hands to conduct tests, Haque's brother said. "His condition is deteriorating. We cannot take him home because it is very difficult for him to travel long distance in trains. We will wait till Monday."

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