Private ambulance operators seek govt aid

The drivers expressed displeasure over various mandatory charges levied on them by the government each year

HYDERABAD: Hundreds of private ambulance operators in the city urged the state government to add their vehicles to the fleet being run by the latter, as it could help provide better livelihood to them.

The drivers expressed displeasure over various mandatory charges levied on them by the government each year. “Even though we worked like warriors during the Covid pandemic times, we ambulance drivers did not get any appreciation or recognition from the government,” said some of them.

The private ambulances owners who also work as drivers are now seeking a rebate on vehicle insurance, fitness and road tax. Even a van ambulance owner ended up paying Rs 15,000, per year and for a bigger vehicle, the cost would be much higher, they said.

“If we die due to some deadly diseases, or in an accident while driving, our families will be thrown to the roads. The government should provide us free life insurance,” said one of the ambulance owners.

There are around 1,000 ambulances in the city of which 600 are being operated in Greater Hyderabad. Private Ambulances’ Association president Minumula Suresh said, “We are unsung heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have got no appreciation or recognition for the services we offered during the pandemic. Now, since the new government services came into existence, we have minimal trips. Private ambulance driver’s existence has become tougher.”
“We request the government to merge our private ambulances with those government ones. At least our drivers will have better livelihoods,” he said.

D. Surender, who has been rendering ambulance services at Gandhi Hospital for the past 30 years, said, “Twice or thrice a week we are getting patients for dropping. Because the government introduced free ambulances, there are more than 30 ambulances of the government as well those belonging to trusts offering free services.”

Mukesh Singh of Uppal, another ambulance driver, said, “During the pandemic, the government asked us to work. We strived hard during those tiring times, we got infected, and faced plenty of difficulties, but there has been no support from the government. Now for each ambulance we have to pay Rs 10,500 for insurance, Rs 2,500 for fitness and Rs 1,500 road tax.”

Next Story