In an "embarrassment" for Goa's ruling BJP, private dentists in the state staged a protest wearing black arm-bands, late on Wednesday, at a function chaired by party President J.P. Nadda, over a recent hike in bio-medical waste handling fees.
Talking to reporters after staging the protest during the event at a city hotel, Dr. Anil D'Silva, a member of the Indian Dental Association, Goa, said that the recent hike was "unjustified" and the protest was intended to bring it to the notice of the government.
"Injustice has been done to our fraternity with regards to the bio-medical waste handling fees hike along with several other issues. Dentists have been illogically placed in a category, which considers that we produce far more bio-medical waste than we actually do," he said.
D'Silva said that earlier, dentists were treated on par with general practitioners as far as bio-medical waste collection was concerned.
"The new service provider, Biotech waste from Delhi has (recently) been awarded the contract and we were randomly slotted in a higher category. The change in category has led to a hefty increase in our applicable fees, making us pay what is equivalent to a 10-bedded hospital," he said.
"Average cost of biomedical waste collection in other states is Rs 600 per month. Goa is Rs 1,800 plus taxes," he added.
The sudden protest by the dentists came at a time when Chief Minister Pramod Sawant as well as top state BJP functionaries and government ministers, including Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, were present at the function, during which Nadda was scheduled to interact with medical professionals in the state.
Reacting to the protest the Chief Minister's Office in a statement issued late on Wednesday said: "With respect to today's incident during the Doctors Interaction at Hotel Fidalgo, the CM assured to positively resolve the issues raised by the aggrieved, unfortunately for reasons unknown, the protest began after the assurance was given".