Union presses govt to take over 108 ambulance service

‘Will intensify agitation if demand not met in a week’

SHILLONG, March 31: Peeved with the state government’s apathy, the Meghalaya EMRI Workers’ Union has served an ultimatum, a one-week deadline for the government to terminate the contract with the GVK EMRI and take over the operations of 108 Emergency Service in Meghalaya.
However, the government’s stand on the issue seems firm as it has clearly specified that the contract with GVK EMRI to run the ambulance service will be extended.
Nonetheless, voicing the union members’ concerns, Microlina Syiemlieh, president of the union, said, “We strongly oppose the government’s decision to continue privatising the emergency services in the state.”
“We will intensify our agitation if the government fails to comply with our demand after the end of the one-week deadline,” she told reporters here on Wednesday.
Stating that the contract with GVK EMRI will expire on March 31, she advocated that the government should immediately take over the operations of the emergency services.
On the contrary, Health Minister AL Hek said that the government has no plans to take over the service or to even hand it over to any other organisation.  “We will have to extend the contract with the GVK EMRI since we do not want the 108 ambulance service to be affected. We will continue with the present arrangement till such time a new tender is floated to run the service,” Hek stated.
Admitting that the government had discussed this matter on whether or not it could run the ambulance services on its own, the minister said that they are yet to arrive at a decision.
“The government is facing difficulties to even run the MeECL. I am of the view that the best option is to outsource the 108 Emergency Service to private parties,” Hek added.

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