Outstation patients headed to various government hospitals in the Capital were the worst hit with private auto-rickshaws, taxis and some buses staying off the road in support of the two-day nationwide strike called by Central trade unions across the country.
For its part, the Delhi Government claimed that all preventive and safety measures were put in place to ensure that the common man was not put to any inconvenience and that instructions were also issued to the Delhi Transport Corporation to ensure maximum out-shedding of buses from the depots so that passengers could reach their destination easily.
“This, however, had no effect on the ground with many patients missing their appointments,” said Alok Nath who came to Delhi from Banaras and was unable to reach AIIMS in time for an appointment.
“I will now have to fix another date for getting the procedure done. I reached the railway station this morning in time but was told that there is no auto or taxi service available. By the time I figured my way to the nearest metro and managed to reach the hospital, I was late,” he added.
Alok has now decided to stay back in Delhi for his next appointment rather than risk missing it again.
Sitting outside AIIMS on Wednesday was a long line of patients who had either arrived late and missed their scheduled appointment or those who because of the strike – and previous experience – decided not to take a chance and had arrived a day in advance.
Puran Mehta from Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, is planning to camp outside the AIIMS tonight to ensure that he does not miss his appointment on Thursday.
“My six-year-old daughter is under treatment in the oncology department and we cannot afford to miss our appointment with the doctor so we decided to come a day in advance. We usually arrive a day earlier.”
The scenes at other major government hospitals – Ram Manohar Lohia, LNJP and G.B. Pant -- seemed very similar to the one at AIIMS.