Isubbu of Puttur had to spend Rs. 500 to bring his daughter, who developed labour, to the Government Lady Goschen Hospital here on Thursday.

“I first called the 108 ambulance. As the service was not available, I had no other go but to take locally available ambulance,” he said.

Mr. Isubbu said he got the service of the ambulance attached to the Primary Health Centre at Shiradi. Mr. Isubbu is among the many people from the district who faced difficulty because of the strike launched by the 108 Arogya Kavacha staff on Wednesday.

Strike

Around 3,000 employees, including ambulance drivers and emergency medical technicians, are on strike seeking regularisation of their services, better wages and other benefits.

Arogya Kavacha ambulances are operated by GVK EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute).

In absence of Arogya Kavacha ambulances, people are forced to use private ambulances.

“I do not know how much the private ambulance owner will demand,” said N. Yousuf, who was looking for a private ambulance to shift his relative from a private hospital near Kottara to the Wenlock Hospital.

Arrangements

District Health Officer O. Srirangappa said arrangements had been made to run the ambulances in Pujalkatte, Kadaba, Venur, Mulky, Bajpe and Shiradi on Thursday. “We are in constant touch with the EMRI district coordinator and the manager, and working towards restoring the service,” Dr. Srirangappa said.

He said the EMRI management had permitted the local staff to run the ambulances. The KSRTC Managing Director had agreed to send some drivers to run the ambulances.