A new technical team has been set up to monitor the new tender for 108 ambulance services, Department of Health and Family Welfare Services officials said.
The Department of Health and Family Welfare Services have appointed a new technical team for setting up a new tender process for the 108 ambulance service. The team will need one or two months to finalise the new bidders. After the evaluation, a date will be fixed for the tender, said the Health Commissioner, Randeep D.
“The technical team will look after the setting up of the new command center for 108 ambulances and short listing the bidders,” said the Health Commissioner. The technical team consists of the Commissioner and Director of Medical Health, among other members of Health and Family Welfare Services.A few of the 108 Ambulance Service vehicles are not being used to transport patients. As of now, 70 out of the total 95 ambulances are working in Bangalore city, , said Randeep. The reason for this is the lack of maintenance by EMRI Green Health Services, the present contractors.
The contract for maintaining the 108 ambulances with EMRI Green Health Services expired in 2017. However, because of delay in the new tender for 108 ambulance services, government instructed EMRI Green Health Services to continue with the maintenance, said the Health Commissioner. He also said that the Lokayukta case filed against the ambulance service is the reason for delay in the process of calling new tender for ambulance service. “The process for calling new tender was made in March 2023, but it was cancelled because of the complaints against EMRI Green Health Services,” Randeep said..
In July 2023, the ambulance drivers and the emergency medical technicians went on a strike due to a delay in the payment of theirsalary. “After the strike, we only received two months’ salary. The strike and protest against EMRI Green Health Service ended in vain,” said an emergency medical technician.
An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) from 108 ambulance service said, “We haven’t received our salary from the past four months.” The EMT also said that the maintenance of the 108 ambulances has been poor since 2017.
Another EMT worker said, “We have filed a complaint against the EMRI to the Health and Family Welfare Services department. The officials said that the process for calling new tenders is going on and the problem regarding the salary payment will be resolved soon.” He added, “Delay in the payment of salary affects the economic status of the workers.”
Experts say that the public is affected when the ambulances are not maintained properly. Dr. Ramesh Kanbargi, public health professor, Padmashree School of Public Health said, “If the free of cost ambulances are not maintained properly and left unattended, the poor will be affected massively.”