Employees of the private firm running the 102 ambulance service demonstrated outside its office in Patna on Thursday, as uncertainty about their jobs loomed large.
The health department had assigned Dr Jain Video on Wheels Limited the work to run the ambulance service with State Health Society, Bihar. Since some of the employees — drivers and technicians — went on strike in demand for salary, the department has started to make alternative arrangements. Termination of the contract is being considered and some district health societies have also started to run 14 ambulances without the assistance of the private firm.
According to sources, there are around 500 employees at the firm’s call centre and 3,000 drivers and technicians. All of them have gone without salary for the past three to seven months. Now, the state health society has decided to take over control of all “102 ambulances” from the firm and remove some of the drivers and technicians, the employees are in a fix. Many of them demonstrated outside the office of Dr Jain Video on Wheels Limited, forcing the management to bring down the shutters for a few hours. On Wednesday night, too, some drivers and technicians had taken away computers from the office.
A senior officer in State Health Society, Bihar, told The Telegraph: “The society has shot off letters to the district health societies for setting up control rooms and running the 102 ambulances through the call centres. Talks have also been held with BSNL officials about connection for the proposed call centres. It would be done in a day or two and the call centres can start in the districts. As far as the old drivers and technicians are concerned, some who have performed well would be kept on.”
All the workers are duly worried, though.
“I have not got any salary for the past seven months, There are only two earning members in my family, so one can imagine my condition. I am unable to contribute to the household expenses,” said Mohammad Muslim Khan, a 45-year-old technician.