Lucknow, March 31 (IANS) The ambulance drivers and attending staff in government hospitals are up in arms over the delay in providing them with masks, sanitisers and also their salaries.
Bhupendra Singh, president of the ambulance drivers’ association, said, “We are carrying patients, many of them corona infected, but we have not been provided any protective gear, including masks and sanitisers. We stand completely exposed to the deadly virus but the hospital authorities do not care about this.”
He said that only a handful — about a dozen — ambulance staff had been provided masks, gloves, sanitisers and disinfectants whereas others work without these.
Chief Medical Officer Ghanshyam Singh, meanwhile, said that only five ambulances had been earmarked for bringing corona suspects while all other ambulances were for ferrying normal patients.
“Those who are deployed on ambulances marked for COVID-19 patients have been provided masks and sanitisers,” he said.
The ambulance drivers in the KGMU, Balrampur and Civil hospital said that their salaries were also pending and despite several reminders, they had not been paid their dues.
“The government is forcing us to strike work in these critical times. The officials should realise that our families also need money in the lockdown,” said a driver from the Balrampur hospital.
Hospital officials said that the process for clearance of salaries and dues had begun and the same would be paid at the earliest. “A number of drivers have already been paid salaries and only a few remain,” the official said.