Bengaluru: Ambulances were exempt from the bandh, but many of them charged exorbitant rates while ferrying patients, who were quite literally at their mercy. Saibunnisa (58), a resident of Ramachandrapura, died at Victoria Hospital around 7 am on Friday after developing complications because of diabetes and a liver ailment. But none of private ambulance service providers were ready to take the body as per normal rates. They demanded Rs 2,000 for a distance of 6 km, saying it was risky as the strike was on.
Ambulances fleece hapless patients
As expected the Friday’s nationwide bandh caused inconvenience to people, especially those from weaker sections of the society who couldn’t arrange for private vehicles. Though ambulances were exempt from bandh, many of them charged exorbitant rates while ferrying patients, who were quite literally at their mercy.
In one such case Saibunnisa (58), a resident of Ramachandrapura was admitted to the Victoria hospital around 2.30 am on Friday morning as she was suffering from diabetes and liver ailment. Around 5.30 am she died and around 7 am, her relatives decided to take the body to their house for final rites.
But to their shock, none of the private ambulance service providers were ready to take the body as per normal rates. Instead they demanded Rs 2,000, for a distance of six kilometres, stating that it was risky as the general strike was on.
According to Mohammed Usman, a family friend, as there were no autos and buses, ambulance drivers were demanding hefty amounts from patients. “Many of them had no options. But we transported the body in an auto and the auto driver charged Rs 400,” he added.
Meanwhile the state health department is flooded with complaints regarding the incident. “We are verifying the incident. If any ambulance driver is found guilty we will initiate action,” said a health department officer.
Though all the auto driver unions had announced support for the bandh, many drivers were plying and charging extra fare. According to an auto union member, since morning city traffic police has penalised around 200 auto drivers who were demanding extra fare. Auto drivers see an opportunity to fleece passengers during bandhs, he added.