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102, 108 services stalled in UP amid strike by ambulance staff

LUCKNOW Many patients and their attendants had a tough time reaching hospitals as staff of 102 and 108 ambulance services went on a flash strike across UP on Monday in wake of a change in the company that operates the advanced life support system (ALS) ambulances
UPDATED ON JUL 27, 2021 02:13 AM IST

LUCKNOW Many patients and their attendants had a tough time reaching hospitals as staff of 102 and 108 ambulance services went on a flash strike across UP on Monday in wake of a change in the company that operates the advanced life support system (ALS) ambulances.

The main demands of the ambulance drivers included job security, end of contract system, inclusion of 102, 108 and ALS employees into NHM service, 50 lakh insurance for staff, if they die of Covid and overtime payment after eight hours’ duty.

After the recent tender to run 250 ALS ambulances in UP was bagged by Ziqitza Healthcare Limited, ambulance staff were apprehending that many of them would lose their jobs.

The workers went on strike to pressurise the government to get all the old staff working on ALS ambulances deployed in the new firm without any riders.

“The issue was related to the selection of staff for running ALS ambulances with the new company,” said TVS Reddy, vice president, GVK EMRI that runs the ambulance services 108 and 102.

“After talks with the authorities, we have decided to allow 10 ambulances to run in each district. But our agitation will continue till our demands are met,” said Hanuman Pandey, leading the agitation of ambulance staff.

Keeping in view the crisis, the health department in Lucknow deployed additional ambulances. There are 4,720 ambulances in UP, including 2,270 being run under the 102 service, 2,200 ambulances under the 108 service and 250 ALS ambulances.

On an average, 102 ambulances cater to about 26,000 calls and 108 ambulances attend to 9,000 calls from across UP while over 1,000 calls are received for ALS ambulances.

With majority ambulances not operating, hardly a few patients could get the services. In Lucknow, 78 ambulances are deployed, including 44 under 108 service and 34 under the 102 service.

“Instead of waiting for an ambulance, I used a friend’s car to reach the hospital. I had got a message about the strike from the ambulance staff in the morning,” said Rakesh, a resident of Gomti Nagar.

For the past three days, some of the ambulance staff had been on protest near the PGI Trauma Centre in Vrindavan Yojna. “Finding no answer to our demands, we decided to hold a massive protest,” said Shahdab, spokesperson for the agitating ambulance staff.

WHY THE STRIKE

The workers went on strike to pressurise the government to get all the old staff working on ALS ambulances deployed in the new firm without any riders.

Though Ziqitza Healthcare Limited has said they would give preference to experienced staff, the workers are apprehensive about their jobs with the new company.

GVK EMRI would continue to run the 108 and 102 ambulances in UP.

CMO deploys additional ambulances

Keeping in view the strike by the ambulance staff, Lucknow chief medical officer deployed a fleet of ambulances for hospitals. Mobile numbers of staff were also issued for people to call and get the ambulance services.

Till the strike is on, Vijay Kumar can be contacted on cell phone number 9335213689 and Rishit Yadav on 9798282727 to get ambulance services.

“We have deployed ambulances at all CHCs in rural areas. For urban health centres, the control room at CMO office is coordinating ambulances,” said chief medical officer Dr Manoj Agrawal, in a press statement.

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