Patients in Rajasthan suffer as ambulance strike enters third day
The effect of the strike was such that only 330 patients were brought to hospitals by ambulances till 5 pm on Wednesday.Updated: Mar 21, 2018 21:53 IST
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Patients in Rajasthan are suffering after 108, 104 and base ambulance contract staff went on strike. The strike, which started on Monday, continued for the third day on Wednesday following the failure of talks on wage hike.
The effect of the strike was such that only 330 patients were brought to hospitals by ambulances till 5 pm on Wednesday. On an average 3,500 patients are brought to hospitals by these ambulances every day.
Rajasthan Aapatkaleen Ambulance Karamchari Ekta Union state president Virendra Singh Shekhawat said, “We have been repeatedly telling the government about our problems, but nothing has been done. As a result, the ambulance staff went on strike from Monday.” He said a 15-point charter of demands has been submitted to the government. On Tuesday talks were held with the service provider GVK-Emergency Management and Research Institute (GVK-EMRI) and the government, but it failed, said Shekhawat.
GVK EMRI public relations officer Bhanu Soni said that Rajasthan has a total of 1,506 ambulances, out of which 730 are 108-ambualnce, 587 are 104-ambulance and 189 are base ambulances.
He said that the company has called drivers and emergency medical technicians from other states where GVK-EMRI is running the ambulance services, along with employees from the offices of chief medical and health officer.
“Talks are being held with the striking employees and the strike would end soon,” Soni said.
Meanwhile, Shekhawat said the service provider company is exploiting its employees. He said some of the demands are ending the contract system of emergency ambulances and the government taking over the service or formation of a corporation to run these ambulances and appointment of Rajasthan Administrative Services officers. He alleged that the service providing company has not increased the salary of the employees in last five years, so it should be increased immediately. Also instead of the normal eight-hour shift, the ambulance work for 12 hours, so overtime should be paid; PF of the employees is not deposited on time etc.
The ambulance service employees resorted to the strike within days after the March 16 notification, which has declared the 108 emergency service, 104 Janani Express service and the base ambulance service as part of the essential services under the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA), 1970.
Shekhawat said there are nearly 6,000 ambulance service employees in the state, who all have joined the strike. “There is a 10 percent increment clause in the contract. We have been raising the issue for long but to no avail,” he said.
First Published: Mar 21, 2018 21:53 IST