Photos: AIIMS-Bathinda nurses say 4 people live in one room and go on hunger strike: The Tribune India

Karam Prakash

Tribune press service

Patiala, May 19

Alleging poor food and accommodation, around 50 nurses from the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Bathinda have been demonstrating against the Punjab government in Patiala since Tuesday evening.

Nurses deployed to the isolation wing of Rajindra government hospital were accommodated in the boys’ hostel of the city’s public physical education school.

Nurses have gone on hunger strike against alleged ill-treatment by the state government. Medics protesting said authorities, in defiance of Covid’s proper behavior, asked four of them to snuggle into one room.

The Tribune visited the accommodation site and found that the conditions at the hostel were not good. There was no water supply in some of the toilets and the rooms were dirty. Clogged toilets and broken bathroom fittings were seen in most bathrooms.

Mukesh Saini, a nurse, said: “Despite being at the forefront of this pandemic, the state government, by offering such accommodations, degrades our profession and insults us.

Vivek, another nurse who was protesting, said: “Please don’t insult frontline workers like that. We only ask for good food and proper accommodation. The protesting nurses said they had sent a complaint to the district administration, but to no avail.

Dr Rajan Singla, director of the Government Medical College, however, refuted the accusation of the protesting nurses. “With the medical superintendent, I visited the accommodation and in the evening I ate in the canteen. The accommodation and the food are very good.

It has been learned that some nurses have already left the accommodation due to “bad facilities”.

Health and human rights activist Dr Vitull K Gupta demanded the immediate establishment of adequate staff accommodation and action against the officials responsible for the poor arrangement.

Meanwhile, the district administration called the protest “bad theater.” “The Patiala administration denounces the cheap theaters of staff nurses protesting to avoid Covid duty. The reality on the ground is not what they showed. We have arranged good accommodation and food for them “the administration tweeted.

“These nurses are acting totally in irresponsible behavior which is totally unworthy of a nurse,” he added.

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