After receiving several complaints about ambulance drivers harassing people and charging extra money amid Covid-19 pandemic, the state health department has finally fixed the charge according to the type of ambulance and distance covered. All these vehicles will have basic life-support system and medicines.
At a time when Covid-19 has assumed alarming proportions in the state, there are some who are leaving no stone unturned to mint money from beleaguered people. Residents feel the recent raids by the government officials on those selling oxygen cylinders were a relief, but tough measures against such people should continue. For instance, flow meters and other equipment required for oxygen cylinders are still being sold at an exorbitant price. A social worker, who helps Covid-19 patients and their family members, said the flow meters attached oxygen cylinders were being hoarded and sold on black market.
He said a person looking for flow meter was asked to pay anywhere between Rs 6,000 and Rs 12,000 at three different shops on Govind Mitra Road on Wednesday. “The maximum actual price of a flow meter is just Rs 1,200. The shopkeepers are hoarding these products,” he said, adding oxygen cylinders and other necessary equipment and drugs being confiscated by the government officials should be made available to the needy. Recalling the pain which her family had gone through a week back, 30-year-old Shaida Haque said she was desperately looking for an oxygen cylinder for her father-in-law and shocked when a person on the other side of a phone call asked her to pay Rs 95,000 for a cylinder.
“His oxygen saturation level had come down to 80. I started calling my friends and relatives for help and finally got the cellphone number a person. The man, however, asked me to pay Rs 95,000 for one oxygen cylinder. Thanks to good Samaritans, I managed to get one from an NGO. However, I could not save the life of my father-in-law,” she added.
Apart from oxygen cylinders, people are also struggling to get basic medicines. One Ekhlaq Ahmad (28) said he visited several shops on Ashok Rajpath to buy multivitamin tablets, but to no avail. “Finding medicines like Remdesivir and, Tocilizumab and Fabiflu is still a herculean task here,” he added. Paediatrician Dr Arun Shah said gap between the demand and supply and hoarding have led to shortage of medicines. “The government has developed a process to enable hospitals to procure Remdesivir from the government depot,” he added.
Govt fixes ambulance rates:After receiving several complaints about ambulance drivers harassing people and charging extra money amid Covid-19 pandemic, the state health department has finally fixed the charge according to the type of ambulance and distance covered. All these vehicles will have basic life-support system and medicines.
For a distance of up to 50km, a small car will cost Rs 1,500 and the one with air-condition (AC) facility Rs 1,700. Bolero, Sumo, Marshal or any vehicle in this category will cost Rs 1,800 and Rs 2,100 with AC. In case, the distance is more than 50km, an additional Rs 18 will be charged per kilometre for all categories of ambulances. Vehicles like maxi, city ride, winger, tempo (with 12-22 seats) will charge Rs 2,500 and Xylo, Scorpio and Travera Rs 2,500 for 50km. In case the distance is more than 50km, an additional Rs 25 per kilometre will be charged. The health department has said action would be taken against those violating the norms and charging additional money. One can also raise ambulance-related query on 06202751107.
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