Condemning the pathetic conditions prevailing in their quarantine facility at the hostel, 330 postgraduate students of Tirunelveli Medical College began an indefinite strike on Friday.
However, the protesting students have made it clear that they would continue to serve in the emergency ward where the COVID-19 patients were undergoing treatment.
The agitating postgraduate medicos, who have to work in the COVID-19 wards for prolonged hours, complained that they were attending patients with the deadly viral infection in shifts but had no proper place to take rest on the hospital premises and even during the quarantine period.
“Since more number of students have to share cramped spaces, toilets, food, drinking water and other facilities in common, those who are serving in life-threatening conditions in the COVID-19 wards pose serious threat to other postgraduate students serving in non-COVID-19 wards in multi-specialty hospital. Consequently, a large number of students are getting infected by COVID-19. Even though we represented this problem with our higher-ups including the Dean, Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital, no step has been taken to sort out these serious issues,” said the protesting students.
The hospital administration had miserably failed to ensure better sanitation in their hostels / quarters where students were being stuffed in the small rooms, they said.
The protestors said the students who were working in the COVID-19 wards were asked to stay in the rented houses earlier while their professors were given rooms in the hotels in Palayamkottai during quarantine period.
“In the rented houses with three to five bedrooms, we were asked to stay during our quarantine period after serving in the COVID-19 wards last year. While a house with 5 bedrooms can be rented for ₹20,000 or ₹25,000 a month to keep a minimum of five doctors, the tariff for a room in a hotel here would be around ₹2,000 a day. In other words, the expenditure in this connection will be ₹10,000 a day. Besides saving a lot, we got better quarantine facility as we were served food in our room itself. Now, we – postgraduates working in COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 wards are forced to be in quarantine in cramped space which will only facilitate spreading of viral infection,” one of the protestors said.
Dean, TVMCH, M. Ravichandran denied it saying that the postgraduate students had been requested to stay in college and CRRI hostels (in which they were staying during their under-graduation days) and the food for them was being arranged from the same hygienic hostel mess besides providing regular sanitation services at regular intervals.
“However, the postgraduates are insisting on stay at private hotels and food from the same hotels. We provided them with these facilities last year due to complete lockdown. Since we can arrange for food for them from our mess now, we are supplying the food from our mess. Even then, we’re trying to get them the facilities demanded by the students after discussing it with the Collector,” said Dr. Ravichandran.
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