Kolkata: Agitating junior doctors in West Bengal softened their stand on Sunday and asserted that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was free to decide the venue of the meeting with them, but stressed that it should be held in open.
Banerjee had on Saturday invited the agitators for closed-door talks, but the offer was turned down by them. Talking to the media after a two-and-half-hour-long meeting of their governing body, a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors said, "We are keen to end this impasse. We are ready to hold talks with the chief minister at a venue of her choice, provided it is held in the open, in the presence of media persons, and not behind closed doors."
The spokesperson said the venue should be spacious enough to accommodate representatives from all medical colleges and hospitals in the state. Earlier, the agitators had insisted that Banerjee visit the NRS Medical College and Hospital, the epicentre of the agitation.
"We want to join our duties as early as possible in the best interests of the common people once all our demands are met with adequately and logically through a discussion. We are hopeful that the chief minister will be considerate enough to solve the problems," he said, adding that the strike would continue till a solution was worked out.
Junior doctors across the state are observing a strike in protest against an assault on two of their colleagues at the NRS, allegedly by the family members of a patient who died on Monday night.
Services continued to remain affected for the sixth day on Sunday in the emergency wards, outdoor facilities and pathological units of many state-run hospitals and private medical facilities in the state, leaving several patients in the lurch.