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Aizawl: Mizoram is currently facing a manpower crunch amid rising Covid-19 cases due to an indefinite strike called by contractual healthcare workers, sources said.

Over 2,000 health staff have stayed off their work since Monday, demanding several benefits, including regularisation, regular pay, medical reimbursement and transfer allowance.

The National Health Mission Employees Union of Mizoram (NEUM) said the strike, which was scheduled to be called off on Wednesday, would continue indefinitely after a meeting with officials a day ago ended in a deadlock.

NEUM president Malsawmtluanga Hauhnar told PTI that the union was willing to call off the mass casual leave if the government agreed to meet at least two of its demands.

Many of the 2,000 healthcare workers have been employed on contractual basis for more than 20 years, Hauhnar said, urging the government to take measures for the regularisation of the employees at least in a phased manner.

He underlined that the healthcare employees were paid very irregularly for the past 10 years due to unknown reasons, especially when the state stopped receiving direct central funding. Health department officials could not be contacted for comments.

The government had directed all authorities on Wednesday to ensure that the health workers resume their duty from Thursday. On July 8, it had also banned strikes by them under the Mizoram Essential Service Maintenance Act.

In July last year, the NEUM had also staged mass casual leave, which was called off after three days following assurance from the state government to constitute a study group to assess the problems of the healthcare workers.

The union leader pointed out that the government did nothing to meet their demands and the report was neither tabled at the cabinet meeting even as a year had already passed.

Also read: Mizoram: Congress demands resignation of state excise minister

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