On June 3, contract workers of the Health Department of the Haryana government organized a lunch-time protest action throughout the state. The protest action was held to oppose the proposed retrenchment of workers by the authorities in all the PHCs, CHCs, General Hospitals and Medical Colleges of the state.
The contract workers union of the Health Department, which organized the protest action, has claimed that the Haryana government plans to retrench nearly 10,000 contract workers, starting July 1.
A memorandum of demands was later submitted by the protestors to the Chief Minister, Health Minister and the Civil Surgeon. Meanwhile, the workers have resumed their duties, wearing black arm bands as a mark of protest.
In Ambala, on the same day, several workers’ organisations demonstrated in front of the gate of the trauma centre of the General Hospital, demanding job security for the health workers. Workers in Faridabad also demonstrated in support of the health workers’ demands.
Protests and demonstrations were organized throughout Punjab on June 3, under the banner of the Indian Medical Association (IMA, to oppose the likely fee hike in government and private medical colleges of the state.
Doctors’ organisations protested with black flags at the hospitals and dispensaries while students and doctors protested on the streets as well.
Addressing the media, IMA Punjab Vice President Dr. Vikas Chhabra said that the medical college managements were bleeding the parents of students seeking medical education. Medical colleges should not be run for profit, he said, but for imparting medical education to students in their desired areas of specialization.
He demanded that the government immediately withdraw the fee hike decision. Otherwise doctors and medical students of the state would take their protest to the streets, he warned.
The protesting students say that the fees for MBBS have been hiked from Rs.4,30,000 to Rs.7,30,000.
Protest actions were held at the office of the Directorate General of Health Services as well as at hospitals at the district and block levels. Protests were held at Chandigarh, Moga, Sangrur, Mansa, Barnala, TarnTaran, Muktsar, Faridkot, Hoshiarpur, Patiala and Fatehgarh.
Workers of the National Fertilizers Limited staged a protest action at the main gate of the company’s plant in Bhatinda, Punjab on June 3, under the banner of ‘Lal Jhanda NFL Mazdoor Union’.
Workers are opposing the retrenchment of their colleagues who have been working at the plant since 1983, by the management without any prior notice, during the Coronavirus lockdown.
The agitated workers have been sitting on dharna at all the three gates of the plant since May 29. However, neither the company management nor the district authorities have reached out to them yet.
On June 3 peasants in Mansa, Punjab demonstrated outside the office of the Electricity Authority under the banner of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. They were protesting against a new Bill that the government is trying to introduce, according to which peasants will be charged for the electricity they consume to run the electric motors on the farms.
Leaders of the agitation pointed out that peasants are already suffering greatly because of having to sell their produce at throwaway prices and because of their crops getting destroyed by natural calamities. They are already heavily in debt. If they also have to pay the bill for the electricity they consume on the farms, this would be a grave injustice to them.
Earlier, in 2004, when the Punjab government had tried to bring in such a Bill, the peasants had organized a rail-roko in Amritsar, forcing the government to withdraw the Bill. This time too, the peasants are not willing to accept the Bill.
Under the banner of the All India Guards Council, guards of the Indian Railways have been agitating against the attempts of the Railway authorities and the government to eliminate their posts and merge them with other categories of railway workers.
The Railway authorities have announced plans to merge the guards’ posts with those of section controller, traffic inspector, train clerk, etc. The guards are opposing this.
On June 2, guards at many railway stations across the country registered their protest by wearing black badges and black arm bands.