LAHORE, Dec 15: The Punjab Paramedics Alliance has decided to suspend anti-polio campaign for a whole day on December 19 in protest against what they called indifferent attitude of health and finance departments towards PPA demands.

The decision was taken in an emergent PPA meeting on Saturday, a senior office bearer of the association told this reporter seeking anonymity. Presided over by Malik Munir, the meeting was also attended by senior PPA leaders.

Earlier, the PPA had given December 19 deadline for staging a sit-in outside the Chief Minister’s House in the GOR-I. The PPA leader said over 100,000 paramedics working in various medical and health institutions of the province had been asked by the association to participate in, what he claimed, would be the largest agitation outside the CM’s House.

He said the meeting condemned the ‘apathy’ of the health and finance departments and decided to take ‘aggressive steps’ to draw Punjab government’s attention towards paramedics’ demands.

The demands include service structure for BS-1 to BS-4 paramedics, implementation of a notification of service structure issued on November 24, 2011, regularisation of daily-wages and contract employees, issuance of notification of health risk allowance of Rs1,500 in accordance with a summary approved by the chief minister, provision of health profession allowance for paramedics from BS-5 to BS-17 promised by the CM last year and establishment of paramedical council. They also seek all benefits for 6,000 paramedics and other supporting health staff whose services were regularised, on the pattern employed for the doctors and nurses.

He said the chief minister had either accepted the demands or pledged they would be met, alleging the bureaucrats in health and finance departments had shelved them without any justification which shocked the lower cadre employees of the hospitals.

“Keeping in view the situation, the meeting has decided to suspend anti-polio campaign for the day, besides laying a siege to CM’s House to mount pressure on the government”, he said.

The decision of the meeting had been conveyed to the authorities concerned, including special assistant to chief minister on health Khawaja Salman Rafique, principal secretary to CM, chief secretary, finance and health secretaries, principals of all the medical institutions of Punjab, all the health executive district officers (EDOs) and medical superintendents of the hospitals, he said.

The PPA also called its general council meeting today (on Sunday) to further discuss its strategy for the protest.

Meanwhile, The paramedics continued their agitation on Saturday and took out a rally from the Punjab Institute of Mental Health to the Services Hospital for acceptance of their demands.

They gathered at the PIMH at 10am and later marched on the Jail Road to reach the Services Hospital. The protesters were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the government.

The paramedics continued agitation at the Services Hospital for three hours or so.

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