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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The service provider of 108 ambulance service in Odisha, Ziqitza Health Care Limited has received numerous allegations against it in the last few years. Still, the company authorities are allegedly trying to supress truth by not revealing all the details even under RTI.

Satyabrata Das, Spokesperson of Odisha Ambulance Service Employee Association alleged that even the RTI applications with the company are not providing us the complete data. It only provided us with the vehicle registration numbers and other details of admittance and relieve of the patient.

Data so far revealed that the Janani Seva (102) ambulance service active in the State from past few years received Rs 57.57 crore last year, from January 1, 2020 till January 31, 2021.

However, the most sensitive data which has the potential to land many local politicians in trouble, have remained under the carpet during this time. As per reports, the RTI data only reveals the timings of ambulance service and the registration number of vehicles.

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of NHM clearly states that the patients referred to other hospitals should carry the reference Ids of indoor service or out-door service in the presence of a doctor, the name of which should also be mentioned in the document. However, no data in the RTI answers fuels suspicion among many netizens.

Satyabrata Das, a former employee of the 108 Ambulance service in Odisha said, “I want the details of all the calls, beginning from my appearance on TV. A referral number, if any, could also prove helpful. But this department is hiding the truth.”

Meanwhile, Suresh Chandra Routray, Congress MLA said, “This is unfortunate that the ambulances are made to move without any patients only for money. I urge the health department to order an enquiry into the allegations and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Similarly, BJP’s Dillip Mohanty said, “This is the height of corruption. The government is making money even out of the sufferings of the common man.”

“Health Minister Naba Das should resign from his position for extending moral support to corruption,” demanded Mohanty.

The rampant irregularities in 108 ambulance service in Odisha came to fore after an OTV investigation laid bare the murkier dealings in the services touted as the ‘lifeline’ of the healthcare system.

The irony is ambulances in the State are 'minting money even without ferrying patients when in reality the sick and helpless runs from pillar to post to get an ambulance during emergency. The State is replete with such instances during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, State Health Minister Naba Das said that the government will definitely institute a probe only after a written complaint is filed in that regard.

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