With the surge in pandemic in the state, the Punjab Health Minister Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu today appealed the agitating employees of National Health Mission to resume their duties from Monday (tomorrow) in larger public interest.
In a statement issued here today, the Minister said that Punjab is combating pandemic that has witnessed a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths. But, he said that instead of serving the helpless and needy people in this hour of crisis it is unfortunate that National Health Mission’s employees have decided to proceed on strike. Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu said that when a medical emergency is being witnessed in state and all over the country, the Punjab Government is particularly perturbed over the decision of 776 Community Health Officers (CHOs) and some other branches of NHM employees to join the strike.
Mr. Sidhu stated that the recruitment of CHOs was started in 2019. After their joining, the Punjab Government provided a special raise of 12 percent on salary over and above the 6 percent annual increment in year 2020 to CHOs and all NHM’s employees. Giving details of new proposal offered by State Government, Mr. Sidhu said that this year, a pay raise of 9 percent + 6 percent is being offered to the NHM’s employees. He said that besides this proposal, CHOs are also given maximum approved performance based incentive of Rs 15000/month in addition to their respective salary for doing COVID related duties.
In a special appeal to all the CHOs and other employees, Health Minister urged them to not proceed on strike at this crucial moment. He asked them to join their duty by Monday morning on 10 May considering the medical emergency in state.
The Health Minister divulged that this strike has extremely affected our ‘COVID Prevention Drive’ especially in rural areas of State. Due to the week long absence of CHOs, ANMs at Health & Wellness Cetres and Doctors and employees has increased the positivity and death rate as they are assigning the duty of sampling and tracing of suspected patients of COVID-19.
If NHM staff would remain adamant to lead strike, it might be resulted the critical circumstances in urban and rural populations he said adding that although, they have already been given salary raise twice during the two years.
In a special appeal to all the employees of NHM, Health Minister has urged them to not proceed on strike and join their duties to save the precious lives of our people. He also said that if they don’t respond to his appeal of joining duties the State Government will be forced to take strict action against them under The Disaster Management Act.