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ESMA On Health Staff

Bhubaneswar: In order to ensure that there will be no disturbance in delivery of public healthcare services, the State Government has invoked the Essential Services Maintenance (ESMA) Act to prohibit strikes by nurses, pharmacists, paramedics and other medical professionals in the State.

The Home Department has issued an order in this regard. In the order, the Department of Home said, “In the interest of public, it is necessary to prohibit strikes in the form of cessation of work by the nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, technicians, other class-III and Class-IV employees etc. including contractual employees in services/ engagements connected with maintenance of medical services in the Government hospitals and dispensaries in the State.”

So, the government has imposed Odisha Essential Services (Maintenance) Act 1988, prohibiting strikes in the aforesaid services for a period of six months with effect from April 16.

The order will be applicable for the healthcare staff of District Head Quarters Hospitals, Sub- Divisional Hospitals, Area Hospitals, Community Health Centers, Primary Health Centers, Municipality Hospitals, ESI Hospitals etc. as well as Medical Colleges and Hospitals run by Government and other autonomous health institutions receiving grant from the State Government, specifically AHRCC, Regional Spinal Injury Centre including Jail Hospitals, Police Hospitals etc. so that health care delivery system in the State is not affected.

The Government also made it clear in the order that strike means the cessation of work by a body of persons employed/engaged in any essential service acting in combination or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common understanding of any number of persons who are or have been so engaged to continue to work or to accept employment and includes unauthorized absence from duty in pursuance of a common understanding among the persons who unauthorizedly absent themselves from duty or under the direction of any other person or persons.