Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 19:
With the 108 ambulance workers strike entering second day today, the health services across Odisha have been badly hit.
Even though the officials of National Health Mission (NHM) and 108 ambulance service provider Ziqitza Health Service (ZHS) have roped in their pharmacists and other officials, the situation continues to be grim in most parts of the state in the absence of ambulance drivers.
The Government, on the other hand, is yet to take a concrete step to address the issue. Neither the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) has been enforced not has the government accepted the demands of the workers.
“We are aware about the issues they are raising. The government is considering their demands. I appeal them to call off the strike and resume work. So far as their complaints pertaining to the company and their salary are concerned, the company has hiked their salary and has taken measures to fulfill their demand. The government would take strict action If they continue to cease work,” Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak had said yesterday speaking about the strike.
Yesterday, they 108 ambulance workers had started the cease work protests across the state and the day before they had organised a dharna in Lower PMG of Bhubaneswar to press for their demands.
Notably, the employees of the 108 ambulance service including drivers, helpers and medical technicians have been agitating since a long time demanding payment of minimum guaranteed wages, 15 per cent annual increment and construction of rest shades for the employees among others.
Besides, they have been alleging that they are being forced to work in 12-hour-long shifts against the provision of eight hours.