506 contract doctors on COVID-19 duties in Karnataka to resign today

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Around 500 contract doctors at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 in Karnataka have decided to resign en masse on Wednesday.

The doctors are quitting in protest against the government’s failure to regularise their posts. As many as 506 of them work on a contract basis in different parts of the state. They submitted petitions and appeals to the chief minister and the health minister demanding pay on a par with the regular doctors.

But as the state drags its feet over the demand, the Contract Doctors’ Association of Karnataka (CDAK) has written to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, communicating their decision to quit en masse and requested the CM to relieve them from work immediately.

Currently, the state government is paying doctors on contract Rs 45,000 a month while the new recruits on contract assigned to the Covid-19 duties have been paid Rs 60,000 with an additional Rs 15,000. But regular doctors in the department are being paid Rs 80,000, which has angered the contract doctors demanding equal pay for equal work. 

They are also asking the government to regularise their jobs. In their letter to the chief minister, the association said: “Currently, more than 30% of posts are vacant in government hospitals. With the rise in COVID-19 patients, contract doctors are working on a par with regular doctors at Covid-designated hospitals.” 

However, the association said doctors would continue to work as Covid warriors despite their en masse resignation.