Dimapur: The members of the Nagaland In-service Doctors Association (NIDA) went on three-day mass casual leave from Monday to press for their demand to increase the superannuation age of in-service doctors of the state from 60 to 62 years.

The association said it had taken the decision to go on mass casual leave following the failure of the state government to keep its promise to increase the superannuation age to 62 years in line with the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

All OPDs remained closed on the first day of the agitation today. However, all serious and emergency patients and already admitted patients in wards and ICUs are being treated as usual by the department doctors concerned, the association said.

Emergency/casualty and ICUs are also open to treating all serious cases and admitting patients if required.

The association said all consulting doctors are in the station and available round the clock to attend to any medical or surgical emergencies.

It has requested the public and the media to support its cause so that it can have enough doctors as per the Indian public health service guidelines to continue to serve the public according to the national standards of healthcare service in the coming days.

The state government had earlier cautioned the doctors that they would be liable to disciplinary action as well as salary deduction if they go ahead with the protest.  

On April 14, an order issued by chief secretary J Alam drew attention to Rule 25 of the Nagaland Government Servants Conduct Rules 1968 that prohibits the government servants from participating in any form of strike, including mass casual leave or any form of strike.

The order said maintenance of public health and sanitation including hospitals and dispensaries are essential services and asserted that the mass casual leave is likely to cause severe disruption in medical care and public health services.

Accordingly,  the government decided that no one will be granted casual leave from April 18 to April 20 and directed the health and family welfare department’s principal director not to approve casual leave of any officers or recall/revoke those already granted.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com