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DEHRADUN: Unemployed ayurvedic doctors, who were put on kanwar yatra duty by the state government, have called for a boycott of the work, alleging discrimination against ayurvedic practitioners and demanding permanent jobs. The health department had deployed over 60 doctors and pharmacists for the Kanwar yatra which started from June 19. On Thursday, a rally was organized by the unemployed Ayurvedic doctors and pharmacists from Parade Ground to Vidhan Sabha in Dehradun.

The protesters were stopped by police barricades at Rispana Bridge.Talking to TOI, chairperson of the Ayurveda Association, Dr Shailendra Thapliyal, said, “On one hand the GOI is talking about promoting Ayurveda through Ayush ministry and on the other hand their own national health mission has 137 vacancies meant for ayurveda doctors but they are vacant. We want the state government to immediately fill all those posts and create more posts for over 5,000 unemployed Ayurvedic doctors in Uttarakhand.”

“We are useful only during emergencies, national events and tourism such as char dham, ardh kumbh, kanwar yatra etc. We will not support any such events until we are given employment by state government,”said Dr Ajit Bharti, another unemployed doctor.

Meanwhile, director of Uttarakhand ayurvedic and Unani department, Dr Arun Kumar Tripathi, said, “To boycott duty when the yatra has begun is not correct. There is a solution for every problem. If they do this now, it will leave a bad impact on the pilgrims as well as international tourists who visit Haridwar in this season.”

The ayurvedic doctors and pharmacists have sought immediate directions for recruitment of 180 doctors and pharmacists on various government posts in the health department and restructuring of Ayush department to create more vacancies as per the need in hilly districts.