LG approves enforcing HESMA to ensure ambulance services
NEW DELHI: In order to restore ambulance service in Delhi for the general public, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Saturday granted approval to include CATS ambulance service as an essential service under the Haryana Essential Service Maintenance Act (HESMA) for a period of next six months.
As a result, the agitating contractual employees of Centralised Ambulance Trauma Services (CATS) will be prohibited from going on strike.
"LG Baijal is further satisfied that in the public interest, it is necessary and expedient to prohibit the strike by the contractual employees engaged through outsourcing or otherwise for CATS ambulance services run by the Delhi government, as well as the local bodies," said a notification issued by the Delhi government on Saturday.
The government issued the notification after hundreds of contractual CATS workers went on a strike on Thursday night, bringing to a screeching halt the city's life-saving ambulances services.
In the last two days, several agitating employees have vandalised almost 200 of the over 260 ambulances in the emergency fleet. Some ambulances were also set afire by the agitators on Friday.
Intervening in the matter, Baijal on Saturday called a meeting with Delhi Health Minister, Health Secretary, Police Commissioner and senior officials of CATS to discuss the ongoing disruption of ambulance services and imposition of HESMA to restore services.
HESMA was established to ensure mandatory delivery of certain services, including health services, which, if obstructed, would affect normal life.
Earlier in the day, BVG-UKSAS EMS Pvt Ltd, the company which had taken over CATS services in 2016, finally knocked on the doors of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain to take the prompt action against errant anti-social elements inside the CATS administration.
Sources said the strike was announced without prior notice by ambulance drivers and paramedical workers belonging to CATS, as a result of irregular payments and disciplinary action taken against the vice-president of the workers union.
This is not the first time that CATS workers have indulged in negligence at work and sabotage of emergency ambulance services.
According to CATS officials, BVG-UKSAS had earlier reported similar incidents of workers sabotaging ambulance services by damaging vehicles.