Chandigarh [India], May 9 (ANI): Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Sunday appealed to the employees of the National Health Mission to resume their duties from Monday morning in the larger public interest as the state reels under the effects of the second wave of COVID-19.
He also stated that if they fail to do so, stricter actions will be taken against them under The Disaster Management Act.
The contractual employees under the NHM have been on an indefinite strike and demanded the state government for regularising jobs. They have staged protests at hospitals amid the rising COVID infection in the state.
In an official statement, the minister said, "Punjab is combating pandemic that has witnessed a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths. But, 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 with the strike."
Sidhu said that when a medical emergency is being witnessed in the state and all over the country, the state government is particularly perturbed over the decision of 776 Community Health Officers (CHOs) and some other branches of NHM employees to join the strike.
He stated that the recruitment of CHOs was started in 2019. After their joining, the Punjab government provided a special raise of 12 per cent on salary over and above the 6 per cent annual increment in the year 2020 to CHOs and all NHM's employees.
Giving details of the new proposal offered by the state government, Sidhu said that this year, a pay raise of 9 per cent plus 6 per cent is being offered to the NHM's employees. He also said that besides this proposal, CHOs are also given a maximum approved performance-based incentive of Rs 15,000 per month in addition to their respective salary for doing COVID-related duties. (ANI)