Even as the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra headed by Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray passed a special provision, sanctioning the purchase of expensive cars for the ministers, several doctors from Kerala, who had come to Mumbai at the Maharashtra state government’s bidding to fight the coronavirus spread in the city, are on their way back as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has not yet paid their salaries.
15 of the 40 doctors have already left for Kerala while the remaining will be leaving shortly. Besides doctors, at least 35 nurses from Kerala, who had joined Seven Hills hospital in Mumbai last month, too, have not received their due salaries.
BMC interminably postponing the salaries
“All 40 doctors who flew to Mumbai from Kerala have not received their remuneration. They were supposed to work here for two months. Fifteen of them decided to return home last week due to salary issues,” said a doctor associated with the South Asia chapter of Doctors Without Borders that had facilitated the movement of these professionals to Maharashtra during the lockdown.
For the past few days, the doctors raised their concerns of not being paid. They also alleged that the BMC was not reimbursing their travel expenses. They said that the Municipal corporation was continuously postponing their payment. The BMC initially promised to pay by July 5, then deferred it to July 10 and finally to July 13. However, the salaries of the doctors were not credited by July 15.
A BMC official has assured that salaries will soon be credited in the bank accounts of the doctors and the nurses as the file was on the move.
Despite the non-payment of salaries, the Maharashtra government requests more medical force from Kerala
A team of 40 doctors and 35 nurses had arrived in Mumbai on June 9 after the government requested the Kerala government. They were entrusted with the task of aiding the BMC in setting u a COVID-19 hospital in the city. The BMC had promised a salary of Rs 2 lakh for specialist doctors, Rs 80,000 for MBBS doctors and Rs 35,000 for nurses, along with travel allowances.
While the doctors and nurses who had already arrived in Mumbai to join the city’s frontline forces in combating a rapidly spreading pandemic are yet to be paid, the Maharashtra government has put in an additional request for the health care resources to the Kerala government. In a letter to the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on June 22, Uddhav Thackeray said, “Our doctors and nurses have been fighting a long-drawn battle against COVID-19, and whilst we have begun to chase the virus and chase it for good, we need to have more members into our medical frontline front to assist increased capacity. Apart from ICU trained nurses, we require intensivist’s, anaesthetists, pulmonologists, physicians at large.”
Uddhav Thackeray government passes a special provision for the purchase of expensive cars
The Maharashtra government is struggling to pay its own employees, let alone health care resources requested from other states. But while the state is floundering to make payments to the employees involved in the fight against the coronavirus, the government had recently given its authorisation for the purchase of 6 new vehicles for its ministers.
The approval from the Uddhav Thackeray government came at a time when the Maharashtra Treasury is in a bad shape in the wake of coronavirus induced lockdown in the state.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi government gave its nod for the purchase of Innova Crysta 2.4 ZX (7 seaters) worth Rs 22,83,086 from Madhuban Motors Pvt. Ltd., Lower Parel, Mumbai. It is pertinent to note that while the ceiling limit for the purchase of a car has been Rs 20 lakh, a special provision, with the approval of the state government’s finance department and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray was passed to pursue the purchase of the vehicles.