Resident doctors of North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Hindu Rao hospital went on an indefinite strike Monday over the "recurring problem" of non-payment of salaries, partially affecting health services at the facility.
They said they tried to operate a parallel Out Patient Department (OPD) but the hospital authorities prevented them from doing so.
The doctors wrote to the President of India seeking his permission for "suicide". In the letter, the doctors said, "Our situation has turned pathetic and we are unable to take care of our families. We do not even have money for food... So we seek your permission for suicide."
The doctors say they have not been paid salaries for three months.
They demanded that the hospital be handed over to the central government, if the local government and the municipal corporation are unable to run it.
"Its not just a question of three months' salaries, we are facing this recurring problem. The Delhi government and the NDMC should give up this hospital if they cannot ensure regular payment to the staff. We need a permanent solution of the problem," said Rahul Chaudhary, president of the hospital's Resident Doctors Association.
A senior NDMC official said the salaries of resident doctors were delayed because funds were not released on time by the Delhi government.
"We have learnt that the government may release funds due to NDMC today. As soon as it happens, the salaries will be paid," the official said.
The doctors also complained about poor facilities - non-availability of potable water and accommodation - for them. Mr Chaudhary said a petition regarding the resident doctors' salaries was filed in the high court. The case is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday.
A senior official of Hindu Rao hospital said, "We are hopeful that the doctors will get their salary in a couple of days." He added that the problem of accommodation will also be resolved with two new hostels coming up in two months.
"The Emergency department is working without any issue and patient care is our primary objective," the official said.
Facilities at OPD and wards of the 1,200-bed hospital have been affected partially due to the strike, he added.