Drivers and technicians of the 117 state-run ambulances have not got salaries for many months and have decided to launch an agitation casting a shadow of concern over the emergency service.
State Health Society, Bihar, owns all the ambulances and Dr Jain Video on Wheels Ltd provides the manpower. But the company has not paid salaries for the past few months.
As a result, the employees are planning to go on strike from August 26.
Ashish Ranjan, the president of Apatkalin Kamgar Seva Union — the association of the ambulance technicians and drivers, said: “Many employees associated with the 102 grade ambulance service have not got salaries for the last three to four months. So, we are planning to launch an agitation on August 26.”
The 102 grade ambulances are basic emergency vehicles. Besides it, there are also 108 grade ambulances, which have advanced equipment.
Some employees of 102 ambulances in Madhubani district are already on strike for the past six days. Others in Sitamarhi and Buxar had gone off work earlier.
Sonu Pandey, secretary, Apatkalin Kamgar Seva Union, said: “As it is, our salary is very low. Drivers take home Rs 6,400 and technicians get Rs 6,800. Not getting salary for months on an end is a very serious situation for us.”
He added that the workers also want better hours and benefits like Provident Fund.
Representatives of Dr Jain Video on Wheels Ltd said delay in funds allotment had led to hold-up in salary payment.
He said: “There has been a delay in the disbursement of National Rural Health Mission funds. So, we have not been able to pay the salaries of the ambulance workers. We shall pay all the salaries before the end of this month.”
The government is planning to sort out the problem.
Vyasji, principal secretary, health, said the impasse would be broken soon. “I am aware of the situation. The government is trying to fix the problem as soon as possible,” he said.