MULTAN -  The paramedical staff , nurses, clerks and field force from all public hospitals, rural health centres and basic health units went on strike against the proposed privatization of health sector on Thursday, hurling a warning to the government that they would boycott upcoming round of national anti-polio vaccination drive, starting from November 20 if the privatisation process is not ceased forthwith.

The work at health facilities across the district got suspended due to the strike of the staff and poor patients, many of whom had come from far flung areas, got stranded at the hospitals. The protesters gathered at Chowk Nawan Shehr and staged a sit in. They carried out non-stop sloganeering against the government for what they described as introducing a public enemy project. Paramedics and other staffers from different hospitals and dispensaries reached Nawan Shehr in shape of rallies and joined the main procession. Severe traffic jam took place at the Chowk due to the demonstration.

Earlier, the protesting staffers boycotted biometric attendance, vaccination staff stopped E-vaccs reports while the field staff refused to mark their attendance.

The protesters were led by Maqbool Gujjar, Jamil Ahmad, Munir Ahmad, Imran Ahmad, Shoaib Khan, Kamran Ahmad, Irshad Niazi and others.

Speaking on this occasion, they said that the privatisation of health sector was a conspiracy against the people of Pakistan as this initiative would completely ruin this sector. They added that the motive behind holding rallies and demonstration was to prevent the government from taking this step. They maintained that the privatisation would not only cause an unbearable increase in the rates of health services but also deprive the masses of free treatment facility.

WORK ON 915 SCHEMES BRISKLY UNDERWAY

Commissioner Multan division Bilal Ahmad Butt disclosed on Thursday as many as 915 development schemes worth over Rs39 billion are underway in the division and all projects will be accomplished in time without compromising quality of the work.

Chairing a meeting here to review the pace of work, the Commissioner directed the concerned officials to get all projects accomplished forthwith while ensuring transparency and quality. He directed the Deputy Commissioners to personally monitor the projects and take strict action in case of any irregularity besides submitting a report on it to his office.

He further revealed that 374 schemes worth over Rs10 billion were currently underway in Multan district, 222 worth Rs9.87 billion Khanewal, 277 worth Rs7.85 billion Vehari and 49 worth Rs3.85 billion Lodhran. He said that Multan could be turned into a developed division by utilising all funds allocated by the government for the uplift of this region. The commissioner directed forest officials to launch a massive plantation drive in Multan.