Odisha: Ambulance services have taken a hit after the 108 ambulance workers continue their protest here. The strike has entered the third day, even though the government had imposed Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) yesterday.
The state government has imposed ESMA with greater enforcement this time, and has even gone ahead in making arrest across the state.
12 FIRs have been lodged so far.
Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak in his statement has implied that they are taking every step to ensure that patients do not have to suffer. He said, “While we have imposed ESMA, alternate arrangements have also been made. Any negligence on duty will be severely dealt with. The district administration has been directed to arrange vehicles and manpower to address the issue of shifting of patients as required.”
The employees of the 108 ambulance service including drivers, helpers and medical technicians have been on protest demanding minimum guaranteed wages, 15 per cent annual increment and construction of rest shades for the employees among others. Also, it has been alleged that they are being forced to work long hours, over their eight-hours designated shift.
As reported by Odishasuntimes, “The government simply doesn’t care about us. We have tried all possible ways to convey our issues before opting for cease work protests. Now they have imposed ESMA and are arresting our colleagues. But, these pressure tactics won’t work. We are not going to back down. The strike would continue until the government gives in,” said Ramesh, an ambulance driver in Bhubaneswar.