| An 102 ambulance in Patna on Monday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
The government is mulling different options to resume the 102 ambulance service after the State Health Society, Bihar, failed to meet a deadline set by the high court to resume the facility on Monday.
Patna High Court on Friday had set the health society the deadline after some drivers and technicians of the private firm responsible for the service went on strike last Wednesday.
At present, the State Health Society, Bihar, has instructed all the district health societies to not renew the two-year contract with the private firm. Dr Jain Video on Wheels Ltd has been running the service in public-private partnership mode.
Sources said the company is yet to get Rs 41 crore from the district health societies for which it has not been able to pay drivers and technicians working for the service. The company has also stopped providing petrol to ambulances in some of the districts. The workers even gheraoed J.K. Jain, the managing director of Dr Jain Video on Wheels Ltd, on Monday for payment.
An official in the health society said: “On Sunday, the State Health Society, Bihar, asked all the district health societies not to renew their two-year contract with Dr Jain Video on Wheels Ltd. The decision was taken based on the firm’s poor performance.”
Deepak Kumar, principal secretary, health, told The Telegraph that the department was thinking about bringing the 102 ambulance service under its tutelage. “The final decision has to be taken by development commissioner Phool Singh,” he said.
Sunil Kumar Singh, vice-president, state chapter of Indian Medical Association (IMA), said: “The government should think about an alternative arrangement if they decide not to renew the contract with the private firm.”
Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, the president of the state IMA, said: “Any private firm working in the health sector should understand its social obligations. Disruption of services can endanger many lives.”