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Reservation: Protests on, medical services hit

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 17: Medical services in various parts of the country remained affected today as resident and junior doctors and medical students continued with their work boycott in protest against the Centre's proposed OBC reservation policy.

In the Lok Sabha, Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh today said that the government is considering various options, including raising the number of seats in premier institutions such as IITs and IIMs, to provide reservation for OBC students and protect the interests of all sections.

Replying to a debate on a calling attention motion, moved by Mr Santosh Gangwar (BJP) and others, the Minister said there was no delay on the part of the government in announcing its new policy.

In the capital, medical services were hit even as railway doctors attended to patients in the OPD, Emergency, intensive and trauma units at the Ram Manohar Lohia and Safdarjung Hospitals since this morning.

Though parallel OPD units were set up, services in Delhi's five premier government hospitals including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narain, remained affected.

Earlier, Minister of State Without Portfolio Oscar Fernandes visited the striking doctors and students, who are on a hunger strike since May 13, at AIIMS. He later held an informal meeting with a seven-member delegation of 'Youth for Equality' at Shram Shakti Bhawan.

The delegation submitted a memorandum demanding a roll-back in further increase in OBC quota and that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up a non-political judicial committee to review the existing reservation policy.

The United Students' along with the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and Delhi Traders and RAWs will observe Saturday as 'Solidarity Day' in support of the agitating doctors and medical students.

In Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, medical services remained disrupted in government and private medical colleges following the strike by resident doctors, interns and students in protest against the proposed reservation policy of the central government.

OPD and emergency services were badly affected in PGI, Government Medical College and Government Hospital here as resident doctors, medical students took out a procession, burnt the effigy of Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh, formed human chain and blocked the road in protest against the proposed reservation policy.

The Punjab Chemist Association today also joined the agitation.

UNI

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