U.T. Khader, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, has termed the strike by drivers and paramedical staff of the 108 ambulance service as an “internal problem” of GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), the private agency which runs the service.
He said he had discussed the issue and that “there are problems. Emergency medical relief should be viewed as a primary duty and the focus should not be salary and facilities”. Mr. Khader said, “The 108 service is offered on public-private partnership model. Manpower is their responsibility in PPP model — including salary, incentives, ESI and PF. It is clear in the terms and conditions.”
Even if the ambulance programme does not come under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), the staff should do their work. Only if the system fails, we will intervene,” he said.