Pokhara, December 19 Doctors of Gandaki Medical College have been agitating for the past 14 days, disrupting health services and academic classes here in Pokhara. The doctors have put forward four demands including increment in perks, timely payment, reinstatement of fired colleagues, and permanent status for those appointed on contract. The doctors have now also prevented new patients from being admitted to the hospital. According to Dr Tara Koirala, secretary of the struggle committee formed for the cause, the agitation has been protracted because of the college administration’s negligence towards their demands. “The college hasn’t increased our salaries for the past five years, and they don’t pay us on time. They have also fired two contract-based colleagues and refused to grant permanent status to those working on contract,” said Dr Koirala. Koirala further accused the college of violating earlier agreements with the doctors. “Our agreement stipulated that our salary would be increased every two years. But the administration does not even pay our salary on time,” he said. The doctors also said that a provision of the Labour Act 2048 stipulates that contractual employees have to be granted permanent status after 240 days of employment, which the administration has neglected. The college, on its part, has decried the agitation, saying it is against professional ethics. “The agitating doctors should realise the fact that the problem can be solved through dialogue,” said College CEO Santosh Khanal, saying the doctors don’t have any right to deprive patients of treatment. Regarding the firing of the two doctors, Khanal clarified that they were not fired, and they had simply not extended their contracts. “We cannot reinstate them,” he said, adding he had briefed the concerned minister about the doctors’ agitation. The doctors and the administration have had two rounds of talks earlier, but the talks were inconclusive.