Odisha

Sambalpur 108 Ambulance Staff Stir: BJD & BJP Slugfest Gains Momentum

**Bhubaneswar: ** While the agitation of Sambalpur 108 Ambulance employees is still on despite over three hundreds of them have been arrested under ESMA and sent to jail followed by police lathicharge on rest of the agitators before the RDC office there, ruling BJD and and its political bête noire BJP have resorted to blamegame.

Covening a press meet on Wednesday, Odisha unit BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty burst, “Police has applied lathicharge and tortured the agitating 108 Ambulance employees in Sambalpur in a bid to hound them out of their spot of stir. The attitude of the State Government towards the 108 Ambulance employees is undemocratic, insensibile, lackadaisical and illegal. Imposing ESMA, 358 poor drivers, helpers and pharmacists have been sent to Sambalpur Jail.”

“As per rule, they have the right to get their due salaries. The State Government should ensure if those employees are receiving their salaries as per the law. Instead of that, Odisha Labour Minister Sushant Singh and Health Minister Pratap Jena are advocating for the private agency,” the BJP leader lambasted.

On the contrary, ruling BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb commented, “When they are entrusted with an essential service, they can’t hamper the interest of the general public while pressing for their demands. If it is violated, the Government has been empowered to take action accordingly. Hence, my opinion is that they should hold discussion with the appropriate authorities about their grievances and demands instead of ceasing such an essential service. Under such circumstances, the Government should initiate action.”

Notably, the employees of 108 Ambulance are continuing their agitation since December 20 last year demanding removal of private agencies from ambulance operations.

On the other hand, Health Minister Pratap Jena on Tuesday had launched an attack on BJP saying it is instigating the 108 ambulance employees and is trying to do cheap politics which will not be forgiven by the general public as they are suffering due to disruption in this essential healthcare service.

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