ALAPPUZHA: The 108 ambulances in the district have hit a roadblock after the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) changed the contract leaving 77 employees jobless.
NRHM employees Association (CITU) is going on an indefinite strike from Monday to restore the service launched in 2011 with 13 high-end ambulances.
The motor vehicle department (MVD) refused permits to a majority of the fleet that exceeded 5 lakh km limit. Only a few vehicles are left now.
R. Nazar, CPM district secretary, said they want to retain all employees.
"Reforms can be brought in only after protecting their jobs. Where will they go, if they recruit new crew?" he asks.
There were 25 ambulances equipped with ICU, ventilator, oxygen cylinders, trolleys, stretchers and other lifesaving equipment in the district. Later the KMSCL redeployed many of them elsewhere. For the last eight years, 13 ambulances running helter-skelter across the state.
In 2016, MVD refused them fitness certificate.
According to a district level NRHM officer, most of them are running out of permitted limits.
"Only four or five out of them are currently functioning properly in the district. Many are out of service as they failed the fitness test. Since Union government did not allocate enough funds for NRHM, none of them was replaced," he said.
"In September, one of them was gutted after the oxygen cylinder exploded before Champakulam Government Hospital."
P.R. Santhosh, secretary, NRHM Employees Association, said there are 17 vehicles in the district, but few are in running condition.
"We strike against the attempt of NRHM to appoint a private company to run ambulances," he said....