Ambulance stir: Sufferers compelled to rent pvt automobiles to achieve hospitals

JAIPUR: Around 1pm on Tuesday, Mohammed Naqvi received information about his father being hit by a car. He rushed to the spot and called the 108 ambulance services. However, even after calling thrice the ambulance did not turn up. Naqvi somehow managed to hire an autorickshaw to get his father to the hospital.
Like Naqvi, many others faced difficulties in taking serious patients to hospitals due to strike by employees of the ambulance services since Monday. Around 741 ambulances of 108 emergency services, 586 ambulances of 104 Janani Express and 190 base ambulances working across Rajasthan joined the strike leaving patients no option but to hunt for private services. All types of ambulances help around 3,100 people to reach the hospitals.

Salary increments, definite working hours, overtime pay, PF and removal of tender system are some of the demands of the striking employees. They have refused to call off the strike until their demands were accepted.

The company , which runs the integrated ambulance project, has denied any ill-treatment of its employees. Sumit Dutta, head of public private partnership in GVK, said, “All employees are given salaries above the minimum wages. We are following all rules and regulations. They are even given PF and they generally work not more than four hours a day. Employees are given overtime if their shifts are extended.”

Dutta said that the demands were unreasonable though they were working for a settlement. But, according to worker Kshitij Fagedia, the employees want the acceptance of their demands in writing which the company authorities were not willing to do.

Naveen Jain, director of the , said, “All over India, ambulance employees are appointed by the private companies. So, making them regular government employee is not possible. The employees are given salaries according to the minimum wages but for the increment we can just request the company and rest is up to them.” Ambulance services of 108, 104 and base ambulances were brought under the for six month on March 16, 2018. But the employees have declared that the government can arrest them if it wants but they will not end the strike until their demands were accepted.

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