Operators of Janani Express, which provides 24x7 emergency ambulance services to rural patients in MP, have decided to approach the Union ministry of health against Ziqitza Healthcare Limited, which was awarded the contract for the scheme.
Ziqitza has started operating its Janani Suraksha services in six districts — Bhopal, Sehore, Neemuch, Morena, Mandsaur, and Betul. The company is expected to start operations in another 10 districts by February.
However, the Janani Express Sanchalak Sagh (JESS) has accused Ziqitza of charging the government an additional Rs 760 crore for their service but at the same time has laid off about 2,000 ambulance drivers.
“Ziqitza has fixed a rate of Rs 16.94 per km with the government but will pay only Rs 8.50 to the operators. At present, the government pays Rs 10 per km to the operators,” JESS deputy state head Govind Gupta told HT.
The company currently provides ambulance services in Punjab, Odisha and Jharkhand. Its services were discontinued in Rajasthan after some irregularities were found, with the case currently being probed by the CBI.
Gupta said the ambulance operators will take up the issue with the Union health minister as the state government was not listening to them. “We have already met some officials and with enough evidence, we will prove how Ziqitza conducted a scam in Rajasthan. It is very surprising that the MP government decided to give them the charge of all ambulance services. They have also been accused (of irregularities) by the Kerala government,” he said.
Ziqitza chief financial officer Manish Sancheti, however, denied the allegations. “After the government gave us the contract, some people lost their jobs and thus are protesting. Six to seven private players didn’t want us to operate in MP because their profits would go down. We are trying to provide the best service by being cost-effective and we are also trying to help small private owner-entrepreneurs by asking for their services,” Sancheti told HT.