Tribune News Service
Solan, July 14
At a time when the number of Covid-19 cases have been mounting in the state, emergency ambulance service provider GKV EMRI has decided to halt its operations from tomorrow citing increasing losses and unresolved issues with the Himachal Government.
Its 1,135 employees, including 588 drivers, 46 support staffers, 29 call centre executives, 464 emergency medical technicians and eight response officers, have been served termination notice for discontinuation of their services from July 15.
With this, doctors are worried about the hospitalisation of Covid cases, the tally already having touched almost 1,300 in the state. As many as 63 cases were detected in Baddi alone in the last 24 hours.
The government had signed an MoU with GVK EMRI to provide ambulance service, for which infrastructure was also created by the government. Problems such as lack of timely funds have been plaguing the service for the past several years owing to which a large number of ambulances were in a dilapidated state.
Rakesh Negi, company’s HR head, said the Managing Director, National Health Mission, and Additional Chief Secretary had been informed about the company’s decision to shut shop on June 29 in view of "mounting losses and inadequate funds from the state". He, however, said the company employees worked dedicatedly amid Covid pandemic even after the receipt of job termination notices.
As many as 117 ambulances were condemned about two to four years ago, which had led to enhancement of the service's working cost multifold over the past few years. As many as 46 new ambulances were added in 2019 while 100 new were provided in April this year after the company officials repeatedly demanded new ones.
The 108 national ambulance service was kick-started on December 26, 2010, while 102 ambulance service, specially launched for pregnant women, initiated its operations on November 14, 2014. With 200 operational ambulances, the company has covered a population of 68,64,602 since its inception with 13,80,848 emergencies having been covered till now. They have provided services to police, fire, medical emergencies, pregnant women, trauma cases, cardiac cases, etc.
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