Chennai, Dec 3: Asserting that the Tamil Nadu Government had not issued any ultimatum to the striking medicos, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today reiterated his appeal to them to call off their stir and called for a negotiated settlement to end the impasse.
In a statement here, he said there was only a minor difference of opinion over the issue as the medicos were willing to serve in rural areas as professional doctors and not as students, while the Centre was insisting that the MBBS course could be deemed complete only after they serve one year in villages.
Analysing their stand, it seemed there was only a hairline difference. ''The differences of opinion in this regard could be sorted out through talks by both parties,'' Mr Karunanidhi said.
This would ensure that the future of the medicos was protected, he said, appealing to the medicos to extend their cooperation in this regard.
Denying that the government had issued an ultimatium asking the medicos to return to classes by today, Mr Karunanidhi said the newspapers had published the contents of his statement correctly, but had given headlines that an ultimatum had been issued. Though it was quite natural for the students to be upset about this, the Chief Minister wondered why the students should waste their time in agitating against an issue which was yet to be implemented.
''Only after receipt of the Dr Sambasiva Rao Committee's report, amendments will be brought in and after a debate, a final decision on one year rural posing will be taken,'' he noted.
''If this is the situation, then why should the medicos in Tamil Nadu, without realising the hardships faced by their parents in educating them, think of continuing their stir, when there was no such opposition in other parts of the country,'' Mr Karunanidhi said.
''One could construe that there are reasons for the students to get anxious as Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who had announced constitution of the committee, has been speaking in favour of one year rural posting,'' he said.
However, the students should take into account the minister's assertion that a final decision would be taken only after receipt of the Committee's report and call off their agitation, he added.