Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 19:
Odisha Government today enforced Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on the agitating 108 ambulance workers on the second day of their strike.
“The government today enforced ESMA. Some of the workers have been detained in Bolangir, Jharsuguda and Bhadrak districts. They would be arrested, if there be a need. Some of the workers have started reporting back to duty,” said National Health Mission (NHM) Mission Director Shalini Pandit speaking to reporters today.
The first two detentions came from Muribahal and Bangomunda blocks of Bolangir district.
While Pandit also assured that the government has made alternate arrangements to make sure that the health services do not get affected, reports emerging from various places of the state stated otherwise.
As we reported earlier, 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.
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.
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.