Jaipur: Medical and health services remained paralysed in Rajasthan for the third successive day on Monday, as due to the doctors' strike since Saturday, there was no one to attend on the patients standing in serpentine queues in the hospitals.
Even though the state government had invoked the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA) in advance to stop the doctors from going on strike, the latter did do so and then went underground to avoid arrest.
All senior representatives of the All Rajasthan in Service Doctor Association (ARISDA) are untraceable and their phones switched off, leaving the patients to the mercy of God.
In complete absence of doctors, even emergency services remained unavailable in the hospitals. Biggest hospital of the state, SMS Medical College, also had no one to attend on patients. The services in the intensive care unit (ICU), indoor and outdoor patient departments were equally pathetic.
According to SMS Hospital Superintendent Dr. D.S. Meena, teaching faculties have been called to keep ICUs functional and ensure that emergency services were available to patients.
Informed sources said that SMS Medical College Principal Dr. U.S. Agrawal had convened a meeting on Monday with respective heads of departments to find a way out of the situation. In view of the dearth of doctors, a number of important surgeries had also been put off.
The government continues to arrest the striking doctors under RESMA. Around 65 doctors have been rounded up till now and raids are being conducted at doctors' houses to know the whereabouts of the underground doctors.
Meanwhile, the Bharatpur court has directed to take toughest action against the doctors arrested on Saturday. The Additional District Magistrate (ADM)'s court here ordered three of the doctors arrested on Saturday to deposit Rs 1.1 crore towards surety bonds for bail.
They were also produced before the Executive Magistrate under Section 107(16), according to which a person is bound to refrain from any illegal activities.
Dr. Manish Goyal, Dr. Mukesh Vashisth and Dr. Kaptan Singh were ordered by ADM's court judge Dinesh Jangid to bring five persons, owning property worth Rs 20 lakh each, and two government employees to guarantee that these arrested doctors did not join the strike.
He ordered that in case these doctors took part in strike, Rs 1 crore would be collected from each by impounding property of the five persons who had taken their guarantee. Also, Rs 50,000 each would be collected from two government employees, who had taken their guarantee.
These three doctors were arrested under Section 151 of the IPC for their plan to participate in an indefinite doctors' strike, which was scheduled to begin from Monday. After their arrest, they were produced in the court.
The state Health Ministry officials told IANS that the state government was taking all stringent actions against the doctors on strike to ensure that patients got quality medical aid and there were no sufferings inside the hospitals.
When asked if there had any plans to save inconvenience to patients on Tuesday, a senior official said: "We have already invoked RESMA in state. We are taking action against striking doctors and discussions are on to ensure that ailing patients get timely medical services."
However, he did not have to say much on "how does the government plan to tackle this crisis". "We have done everything possible and will see what next can be done," he added.