Nurses gherao Minister over unpaid salaries

Demand continuation of services

Tourism Minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao’s car was stopped by nurses, who were recruited for COVID-19 duty, at Chintalaveedhi in the Agency area of the district when he went there to distribute house site pattas to the poor in Paderu mandal on Wednesday.

Demanding continuation of their services, the nurses also sought payment of salaries three months salaries. A tense situation prevailed for some time when security personnel stopped them from meeting the Minister. The nurses relented after the Minister assured them that he would look into their demand.

Later, addressing a meeting, the Minister announced that he would take the nurses’ demand to the notice of the Chief Minister.

The nurses were recruited on a ‘temporary’ basis in view of an acute demand for nurses in view of the pandemic situation.

It may be recalled that 500 young nurses, in the age group of 20 to 23 years, were recruited by the State government for Visakhapatnam district when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, and sent to serve COVID-19 patients.

They were recruited in August on a consolidated pay of ₹24,000 and were terminated without notice on November 27, on the plea that COVID-19 cases had fallen drastically.

The nurses alleged that they were not paid their salaries properly though they put their lives at risk by serving patients in various COVID hospitals. Though the nurses were told prior to their recruitment that it was being done on a ‘contract basis’, they were hopeful of their services being regularised as there were vacancies at various PHCs and CHCs and government hospitals.

The agitating nurses demanded that their wages be paid and they be regularised and placed in some government hospitals or PHCs or CHCs.

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