Homeopathy doctorsí hunger strike continues

Homeopathy doctors demanding permission to prescribe allopathic medicines and permanent employment in government hospitals continued their hunger strike at Azad Maidan Saturday.

Around 100 doctors have been on strike since July 15. By Friday, 47 were admitted in Gokuldas Tejpal (GT) hospital. Two were admitted in ICU.

Maharashtra State Homoeopathy Doctors Kruti Samiti had staged a minor protest on July 8. Home minister R R Patil had then assured them that he would personally look into the demands.

The doctors have now decided to protest in front of Mantralaya Monday.

Currently, there are around 60,000 homoeopathic doctors in the the state, with 10,000-15,000 in Mumbai alone.

Dr Prashant Shinde, an independent practitioner, said, "Our demands have been pending for almost 35 years. We want removal of the word 'only' from Bombay Homoeopathic Practitioners Act 1959, which states that homoeopathy doctors can only practice homoeopathy and nothing else."

Dr Arun Shukla said, "We can't even prescribe paracetamol."

Dr Vijay Pawar, state co-ordinator of the Samiti, said, "This is the sixth day of our strike and seven of us are continuing with it today. Others are in hospital. I am fasting because I want the government to create a separate independent directorate of homoeopathy. Currently, we fall under directorate of Ayurveda, which provides us a fund of only Rs 5 lakh out of Rs 90 crore sanctioned."

The other demands include appointment in each Public Health Centre (PHC), PHC sub-centre and rural hospitals (RH). There are 1,816 PHCs, 10,579 PHC sub-centres and 362 RH in the state.

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