Delhi Govt mulls invoking ESMA after doctors refuse to call off indefinite strike



New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government may invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on the resident doctors who have not returned to work despite government orders.

Earlier, the government had warned the doctors to call off their indefinite strike by 11 am on Tuesday.

On Monday, resident doctors in Delhi’s government hospitals decided to continue their strike even as their demands for proper security, accommodation and adequate availability of generic drugs in hospitals were accepted by the Arvind Kejriwal government.

The strike, which began earlier on Monday and severely affected functioning in the 25 government hospitals in the capital, is the second protest by the resident doctors in the past six months.

The doctors had worn black badges in February for a few days seeking better working conditions.

The Delhi government on Monday evening issued a statement saying it had accepted all 19 demands of the resident doctors.  In fact, Delhi CM had even tweeted that, “Most demands of striking docs genuine. I hv directed health dept to implement them. Health dept shud hv resolved it earlier 1/2 (sic).”

In other tweet, Delhi CM asked why the doctors were not coming for talks. “Why aren’t docs coming for talks? They were first invited on sat, then sun and then at 3 pm today. They r not showing up. Baat to karo (sic).”

The resident doctors were on strike under the banner of the Federation Of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), an association of 25 Delhi-based government hospitals run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Delhi government and the central government.

-With inputs from IANS