However, the Association of Healthcare Providers of India and other private hospital associations said emergency services would remain unaffected. The strike will continue till their demands are met, said a senior Indian Medical Association (IMA) official.
With Congress legislators divided in their opinion on the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Bill, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah asked them not to openly express their views on the issue.
About 300 private doctors will be on 24-hour relay hunger strike in batches near the Souvrna Soudha in the state's northern town till four provisions in the bill are withdrawn.
Calling it a "draconian", the doctors from across the state are protesting in Belagavi to draw the attention of the State government as the winter session is underway.
Speaking to PTI at Belagavi, national president of Indian Medical Association, Dr Ravi Wankhedakar, said there was anguish among doctors over the bill.
While health minister KR Ramesh Kumar has reportedly threatened to quit if the assembly fails to favour the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Bill, 2017 in its original form, his party MLAs are mounting pressure on chief minister Siddaramaiah to dilute the legislation by dropping stringent provisions, including capping of prices, jail term and penalty for erring doctors. The bill authorises the state government to fix the rate of treatment provided in private hospitals. It is alleged that some hospitals were charging exorbitantly.
About 20,000 private doctors, Ayush practitioners, nurses, paramedics and medical students from across the state participated in the sit-in demo near the secretariat.
About 45,000 private hospitals, including 5,000 in Bengaluru, were also shut on November 3, as doctors went on a flash strike, demanding changes in the amendment bill. They fear that the BJP and JD (S) might use it to corner the government when the bill is taken up for discussion as the two parties have already extended support to agitating doctors.