If all of UK, or France, or Canada lost their entire ambulance network for 5 days, will it make news?
- PT BUREAU
If all of UK, or France, or Canada lost their entire ambulance network for 5 days, will it make news?



THE PEOPLE OF Rajasthan and those passing through any area of the state should have been warned not to fall sick, not to meet with any accident and not to get into any activity that may result in any injury since ambulance services in the entire state of Rajasthan remained on strike for five days. Surprisingly, the government knew about the strike in advance and did precious little to resolve the deadlock.

Virendra Singh Shekhawat, president of the Rajasthan Aapatkaleen Ambulance Karamchari Ekta Union, said talks with authorities failed repeatedly and the strike continued for five days.

Only in December 2017, the doctors and medical college teachers in the state had gone on strike, leading to massive problems for patients and attendants. 

Surprisingly, with the singular exception of Ravish Kumar's Prime Time on NDTV India TV channel, the country's national media paid little attention to the fact that ambulance services had come to a grinding halt in a state with a population touching 7 crores, more than that of Great Britain or France or South Africa, and  double the population of Canada.

Drivers, nurses and doctors manning these ambulances running under 108 emergency service, 104 Janani Express and the base ambulance service resorted to various tactics to press their point, including shaving off their heads and performing a 'yagya’ to beseech gods to bestow good sense upon the government. 
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Surprisingly, with the singular exception of Ravish Kumar's Prime Time on NDTV India TV channel, the country's national media paid little attention to the fact that ambulance services had come to a grinding halt in a state with a population touching 7 crores, more than that of Great Britain or France or South Africa, and double the population of Canada.
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The protests were largely targeted against the public private partnership style arrangement under which a company GVK-EMRI has been mandated to provide these emergency services.

The union of ambulance workers had submitted a charter of their demands to the government almost a month back, alleging that the service provider company has been exploiting the employees. The demands included increasing salary and overtime payment.

Rajasthan has 1,506 ambulances — 730 under the 108 service, 587 under Janani Express and 189 base ambulances. 

Official sources said the health department took possession of 108 ambulances which were parked at the site of the dharnas by the striking employees. 

Every single day, these ambulances ferry nearly 4,000 patients to hospitals. Clearly, thousands and thousands of people in Rajasthan faced massive problems due to the strike and many lives may have been lost because of the absence of a service as essential as an ambulance. But the national media gave the story a complete go by. 

Rajasthan's Vasundhara Raje government issued a notification on March 16, declaring the 108 emergency service, 104 Janani Express service and the base ambulance service as essential services under the Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA), 1970.
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Every single day, these ambulances ferry nearly 4,000 patients to hospitals. Clearly, thousands and thousands of people in Rajasthan faced massive problems due to the strike and many lives may have been lost because of the absence of a service as essential as an ambulance.
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The strike finally came to an end after the Rajasthan High Court declared 108 ambulance service as an essential service and Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati ordered the protestors to restore the ambulance services immediately. 

The court also directed the government to submit guidelines about minimum wage payment. The employees declared it a moral victory.

Now imagine, if all ambulance services in Canada or France or Great Britain had been stopped for five days, how big an international story it would have been?
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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