The TDP and the YSR Congress have expressed their solidarity with the striking staff members of the 108 ambulance service of the Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI).

The opposition parties, on Saturday, took a dig at the State government for its indifferent approach to what they called the protest by the staff of emergency services. There was no response from the government even after EMRI staff suspended operating 108 service since September 12.

Instead of protecting the lives of people, the government was more interested in protecting the interests of the GVK group, they said.

TDP senior leader Kodela Sivaprasada Rao said: “What is the need for the government to handover 108 services to a private agency even after incurring 95 per cent of the total expenditure?”

About 200 to 250 EMRI vehicles used to ply on roads though the fleet strength was 704.

With the employees on the warpath, the people were deprived of even those meagre services. The TDP would launch a massive agitation if the government failed to resolve the issue in the next 48 hours, he said.

YSR Congress leaders Sunkara Krishna Murthy and D. Ravinder Reddy alleged that the government was shelving the welfare schemes initiated by the former Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, unable to digest the popular support to Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy. The government's moves were affecting the poor, they said.

Effigy burnt

Meanwhile, the staff of the EMRI resorted to notional begging to register their protest near the Sub Collector's office here. A few of them outstretched their hands seeking alms from the passersby, while some others explained about their plight and the government's apathy towards the emergency services. Earlier, they also burnt the effigy of GVK Foundation.

CITU district secretary Ch. Krishna said all contract employees of 108 services were on strike for non-payment of salaries for the last two months and for various other reasons.

The other demands included payment of salary arrears in accordance with GO. No. 3, fund allocation towards diesel purchase, job security, and insurance coverage.

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