GVK EMRI staff to fast till govt takes over emergency services

Shillong, Oct 30: Agitating workers of the GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (GVK EMRI) on Wednesday vowed to fast till the state government takes over the emergency services in the state.

Under the banner of the Meghalaya Emergency Management and Research Institute Workers’ Union (MEMRIWU), the workers have intensified their agitation by staging an indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday after ceasing work for the past one month.

The protest was against the state government and the GVK EMRI management for their failure to fulfill the 36-point charter of demands.

The statement also came a day after the non-union members have appealed to the agitating workers to call off the agitation in order to avoid the risk of losing their jobs.

Three of the over 200 workers have been admitted in the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) and Shillong Civil Hospital, after their health condition deteriorated.

They have been identified as Tipsuk Marweiñ, Uttam Marak and Nicetina Sangma.

Addressing a press conference here, president of the Union Roypar Kharraswai said the agitation is no longer against the GVK EMRI, but against the state government.

“We demand from the state government to immediately terminate the contract with the GVK EMRI and accordingly take over the emergency services. The management should also ensure clearing all our pending dues including dues for working overtime,” he said.

Publicity secretary Joseph Pyngrope said the chief minister Conrad K Sangma had informed that the government is spending up to Rs 8 crore for emergency services.

“Of this, the GVK EMRI is making a profit of 30 percent while implementing only 70 percent for running the emergency services. Therefore, we strongly feel that the state government should create an emergency cell with the available resources,” he said.

According to him, the practice of outsourcing to private companies has become the reason for people of the state not to trust the health delivery system in the state.

Pyngrope however said that the non-union members are being used by the management of the GVK EMRI to mislead the people, which is not acceptable.

“What is wrong in us demanding for our rights. In fact the protest is not only about salary increment but it is about increasing the number of ambulances and their proper maintenance for providing quality services to the people,” he said.

He also said that the protest was a culmination of the many years of hardships faced by the field staffs.

Adviser of the union, R Kongwang said if the state government is thinking of doing away with the emergency services in the state, it will only reflect that the health minister A L Hek is not fit to look after the health sector. “We demand that he (Hek) should step down,” he said.

Earlier, the state government has issued a pre-termination notice giving 60 days time to the GVK EMRI to resume the emergency services in the state.

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