Corruption in recruitment of Arogya Kavacha drivers, claim candidates

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BENGALURU: Despite the Health and Family Welfare Department directing GVK EMRI, the company which runs the 108 ambulance service in the state, to take back 130 ambulance drivers who do not have any criminal cases against them, they have not been reinstated due to rampant corruption, according to representatives of the employees.

An order issued by the issued by the deputy director of EMRI, Health and Family Welfare Services, to the state head of GVK EMRI, quoting a previous directive to the company to take back 674 employees who had participated in a 2016 strike, noted that around 430 have been given re-appointment and 130 were not given duties. The issue was brougth to the notice of the Health Minister and Commissoner of Health and Family Welfare Department who instructed to take back the remaining employees who do not have any criminal cases against them.

GVK EMRI had been directed to re-appoint pilots to the Arogya Kavacha ambulance.

Now, the drivers have claimed that there is corruption in the appointment of 137 pilots (ambulance drivers). The company has appointed drivers without any prior notice of recruitment and the alleged dealings made through the State Ambulance Drivers Association by taking bribes of Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 for each candidtate, they claimed.

An agenda copy of the meeting chaired by DD EMRI Health and Family Welfare

Shrishaila Hallur, state president of the 108 Ambulance Drivers’ Association, said, “The state Health Department has issued an order for the recruitment of ambulance drivers. The GVK company should start the recruitment process. But the leaders of the State Ambulance Drivers Association have appointed only who bribed them. GVK company is collecting information of ambulance drivers through an organisation without issuing any prior official notice. Over the last few days, ambulance drivers from many districts of the state have filled out the application forms and given it to the leaders of the ambulance drivers association”.

Shrishaila Hallur, state president of the 108 Ambulance Drivers’ Association, said they are collecting details of drivers before issuing notice to the company.

“No notification was issued by the company before recruiting drivers, and we are collecting the details of those left out. The government has ordered to reappoint drivers, even those who were terminated from the post for participating in strikes. Around 674 drivers who participated in strikes were terminated. We have requested that the company appoint the old drivers. There are 130 open positions”, Shrishaila added.

After Public TV reported the issue, some ambulance pilots sent videos through WhatsApp alleging that the state ambulance drivers association president was collecting bribes from the applicants. They also claimed that there is buzz among the drivers that GVK and Health Department officials are getting money through the association.

In the videos, the ambulance pilots urged the government to take stringent action against such under-hand dealings. They also alleged that Shrishaila is denying them an opportunity to apply for Arogya Kavacha because they have been terminated from the duty.

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