Adarani drivers stage protest over a slew of demands in Guwahati
The All Assam Adarani Drivers’ Association (AAADA) staged a protest at Guwahati Club here over a slew of demands.
GUWAHATI: The All Assam Adarani Drivers' Association (AAADA) staged a protest at Guwahati Club here over a slew of demands.
It is to be noted that the 'Adarani' is a drop back project (under Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram scheme) which ensures safe conveyance of mother and her child after delivery from hospital to back home. This project was launched on January 30, 2012, by then Union Health Minister in the presence of then Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The drivers stated that they are facing an uncertain situation as they don't have any job security and fixed working hours.
The protesters demanded a minimum salary and social security (Provident Fund, Employees' State Insurance and gratuity) for the Adarani drivers. They stated that the working hours should be according to the Labour Act, and also, over-time allowance should be provided.
Talking to The Sentinel, AAADA general secretary said, "We are providing our services since 2012 under the Health and Family Welfare Department. There are more than 330 ambulances that are running across the State. The government has authorized the GVK EMRI to manage the operations of the ambulances. After getting the tender to manage the ambulance service, the GVK EMRI has given the work to contractors for their benefit. Due to this, the drivers are being exploited. While employing drivers, these contractors are not following the Labour Act. Thus, the drivers are only receiving a monthly salary of Rs 4,000 to 5,000 without any social security like – Provident Fund, and Employees' State Insurance. Moreover, they don't have any fixed working hours. A driver has to work for indefinite hours. If a driver objects then he/she is terminated."
Further, the GS stressed that at least two drivers should be appointed for each ambulance. He underlined that a particular district has only one substitute driver. Some drivers have been appointed to run Adarani ambulances in two districts, he pointed out, adding that, more ambulances should be included under the scheme to cover more areas.
"Due to the COVID situation, it has become difficult for us to run our families. On the other hand, the GVK EMRI is not taking our responsibility. Despite highlighting our plight, we have not received any response from the Health Department and National Health Mission," he added.