Private ambulances charge hefty amounts to ferry bodies

The process for getting govt ambulances is ‘cumbersome’

Private ambulances charge hefty amounts to ferry bodies

Ambulances parked at the mortuary of Government Rajindra Hospital in Patiala. Tribune photo

Karam Prakash
Tribune News Service
Patiala, May 1

Amid rising Covid deaths at Government Rajindra Hospital, private ambulances are charging hefty amount for ferrying bodies of coronavirus victims to crematoriums.

It has been learnt that family members of the deceased from other districts due to delay and cumbersome process of getting government ambulance from their respective place have to opt for private ambulance.

The hospital authorities say that they inform nodal officer of the district concerned to send an ambulance to take Covid body. However, sometimes the process took time and relatives of the deceased opted for private ambulance, they added.

“Besides, some districts don’t have ambulances. Therefore, relatives of coronavirus victims have to hire private ambulances,” they said.

Notably, the Health Department and the district administration have deployed five ambulances to ferry bodies, which do not charge any money. However, they only take bodies to the crematoriums in Patiala.

Meanwhile, The Tribune found private players charging hefty amount. When asked about charges to take Covid victim’s body from Rajindra Hospital to a village in Barnala district, private ambulance operators outside Rajindra Hospital demanded between Rs4,000 to Rs6,000.

One of the operators took Covid victim’s body to Khanna for Rs 9,500. Likewise, one more private ambulance driver had demanded Rs15,000 for shifting of a body from Rajindra Hospital to Fatehabad in Haryana.

Condemning the development the Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association (PSMDTA) demanded intervention of the district administration for strict action against wrongdoers.

Dr DS Bhullar, state general secretary, PSMDTA, who is also nodal officer of the Covid dead body management at Rajindra Hospital, said the district administration had provided five ambulances for shifting and cremation of Covid dead bodies in Patiala district without any charges.

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