Dialysis patients in Karnataka hit as staff of 122 government units launch indefinite strike – The Hindu

Government-run dialysis units across Karnataka did not function on Thursday as staff of the units have launched an indefinite strike. | Photo Credit: Special arrangement
Over 4,000 renal patients undergoing dialysis in 122 government-run units across Karnataka have been hit following a protest by employees of these units on Thursday.
Demanding restoration of the salaries paid before the transfer of the dialysis scheme from BRS Health and Research Institute to Kolkata-based ESKAG Sanjeevini Pvt. Ltd. in January this year, nearly 500 employees, including dialysis technicians, nurses and ‘D’ group staff, manning the 122 dialysis units, staged a protest at Freedom Park in the city on Thursday.
Following this, patients due for dialysis on Thursday either missed the life-saving procedure or were forced to get it done a day before. Not satisfied with the Health Department’s assurance that their demands will be met within the next two months after consultation with the company, the dialysis staff have continued their strike.
Patients staged snap protests in front of the dialysis units in various districts. The situation is likely to worsen on Friday for many who are due for dialysis.
Chandrashekar, a technician from Arasikere in Hassan district, said the new agency is paying salaries that are far less than what they were getting earlier.
“I was getting a consolidated monthly salary of close to ₹25,000 earlier. But, after the new agency took over my salary reduced to ₹13,800. Moreover, the previous agency has not paid our wages for two months (June-July, 2021) saying that the Health Department has not cleared their payment,” he said.
Chetan R., another technician H.D. Kote taluk hospital in Mysuru district, said their other benefits such as PF and ESI contributions were also not being paid by the new agency.
“We have tried our best to dialyse our patients a day before coming to Bengaluru for the protest. We met Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar and all top officials seeking a resolution. But, they have issued a letter giving us a time frame of two months to meet our demands. This is not acceptable as we have been raising these issues from the last one year,” he said.
Arundathi Chandrashekar, State Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM), said the Minister heard the grievances raised by the staff. “After deliberations, we have informed the staff that these issues cannot be resolved overnight. We have also given in writing explaining the legal hurdles in clearing two months’ dues (June-July 2021). This was supposed to be paid by BRS Health and Research Institute but as the matter is before the court, we have to seek permission legally. Besides, we also need time to call Sanjeevani for talks with regard to the other demands,” she said.
Stating that the dialysis should understand the plight of patients and resume their duties from Friday, the NHM MD said: “We are working on alternative arrangements to ensure patients do not suffer. We hope to set this right at the earliest.”

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2022 4:46:47 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/dialysis-patients-in-karnataka-hit-as-staff-of-122-government-units-launch-indefinite-strike/article66037194.ece


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