Government probe into ambulance cash demand
The state health department has sought a report from the chief medical officer of health (CMOH) of Alipurduar in connection with Tuesday’s stillbirth allegedly caused by a delay when the driver of a free ambulance service sought money from the pregnant woman’s husband.
Police have arrested driver Bablu Oraon. Probe is on.
“We are aware of the unfortunate incident and have sought a report from the CMOH. If the allegations are proven, we will take stringent steps against the driver. Let us be clear that the state government will not tolerate such malpractices,” Chandrima Bhattacharya, the junior health minister of Bengal, told the media on the sidelines of a meeting convened by Trinamul women’s wing at Madarihat on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Hasan Ansari of Gangutia tea estate of Kalchini block filed a complaint with the police, alleging that Oraon, who drives a free-service ambulance under the 102 helpline, demanded Rs 300 from him to drive his pregnant wife to Alipurduar hospital from the local healthcentre.
Hasan said that when he refused to pay, Oraon threatened that no other ambulance would take his wife. Eventually, the health centre arranged an ambulance after two hours. By then, the woman’s condition was critical. When district hospital doctors checked her in Alipurduar, they found that the baby dead in the womb.
Hasan then approached the police and filed a complaint with the block medical officer of health.
Sources in the district health department said all the drivers who run such ambulances were alerted.
“They can’t demand money. It is a free service. Police are probing the case and we are also conducting an inquiry,” said a health official.
“Oraon was produced in court today (Wednesday) and sent to judicial custody,” said Y. Raghuvamshi, the SP of Alipurduar.