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SHILLONG | Oct 16, 2019:

Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma today said that the State Government has no plan to take over the management of the 108 emergency services in the State.

“The Government had earlier decided to allow the private sector to run this essential service. It is not that the Government cannot run the services on its own. But we will have to take conscious decision whether we would like to take over this services,” Meghalaya Chief Minister told media persons here today.

Reacting to a query on a popular opinion that if the Government can spend Rs 8 crore annually for the emergency services then why it has a problem to bring 108 emergency services under the health department, Sangma said that the Government is yet to discuss on this matter

He, however, stated that it is true that majority of the people who are working with the GVK EMRI are all local people.

“But it is not appropriate from the Government’s side to come in and say that we will clear the dues or change the salaries  structure. This issue will have to be resolved between the GVK and employees,” he said.

Meghalaya Chief Minister said that the Government, through various channels, is trying to speak with the GVK EMRI management and the employees associations to suggest ways and means to resolve the issue.

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Conrad further appealed to the employees, their leadership and the management of GVK EMRI to resolve the issue amicably as it is affecting the basic services which are being provided to the people.

It may be mentioned that the employees of GVK EMRI under the umbrella Meghalaya Emergency Management and Research Institute Workers’ Union (MEMRIWU) had gone on an indefinite strike since September 30.

Earlier, MEMRIWU president, Roypar Kharraswai had informed that there have been no negotiations till date nor has there been any communication from the management or the government side.

Informing that everyday about 5000 emergency calls used to come to the emergency call centers in the whole state, he said that the ongoing strike called by the workers has badly affected those in need of the 108 emergency services.

“We are not here protesting to hurt the sentiments of the people, but as breadwinners, we are fighting for our rights. The ambulance provided has become useless and we are just managing with what we have. The conditions of the ambulance are rusted, stretchers don’t work, no proper latch, no proper equipment, there is a need for new ambulances,” he said adding that the state government has also not kept its promises which it made in 2017 of providing them with new ambulances including accommodation (quarters) for the workers.

“The government is allotting Rs 1.47 lakh for maintenance of the EMRI ambulance per month but the fact is that the ambulances are worst than the municipal trucks carrying garbage,” Kharraswai said.

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