Beni Hospital has halted all services except emergency as its health workers and staffers are up in arms over the non-payment of salaries for the past three months.

The protesters today staged a sit-in in front of the hospital entrance to press the hospital administration to release their long-pending salaries.

They said that they had been forced to launch the protest as they were denied salaries at a time when festivals, including Dashain, Tihar and Chhath were around the corner.

"Our demand has been long ignored despite our repeated calls in this regard. We are waiting for our salaries," said Mandevi Gautam, a protester.

As a result of the closure of hospital services, many patients visiting the hospital have been affected.

Kuhuki Devi Khatri of Malanga Rural Municipality, who reached the hospital for treatment of her ailing child, was deprived of the service.

Likewise, Ganesh Subedi of Beni Municipality, who accompanied her neighbour for his eye treatment, complained about the unavailability of medical services due to the protest. When asked, hospital chief doctor Jitendra Kandel said that the problem had surfaced as there was a delay on the part of the respective ministry to authorise the hospital to release salaries of hospital health workers and staffers due to various reasons. He also blamed the hospital accountant for delay in service delivery.

Hospital accountant Narayan Subedi, however, said that the process of releasing salaries to hospital employees had reached its final stage.

The hospital has a total of 123 employees.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 7, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.