The Essential Services Maintenance (ESMA) Act was imposed in four districts of Himachal Pradesh today, following a strike by the employees of the 108 and 102 ambulance services.
Kangra District Magistrate K K Saroch issued the orders in this regard here and said, “Those who do not return to work shall be punished in accordance with law.”
He added that before imposing ESMA, he had a meeting with the officials of the health and police departments, along with the in-charge of the ambulance services.
The Essential Services Maintenance Act is an Act of Parliament, which was introduced to ensure a continuous delivery of certain services, which, if obstructed, would affect the normal life of people, including services related to public transports and the health sector.
Saroch said the health department was asked to make alternative arrangements for patients till the resumption of the ambulance services.
A health department official said they were taking the services of the drivers of other government departments.
Around 800 employees of the 108 and 102 ambulance services are on strike in the districts of Shimla, Solan, Chamba and Sirmaur over various demands.
Due to the strike, 92 ambulances of the 108 service and 125 of the 102 service are off the roads, causing great hardship to the patients.
State Health Minister Vipin Parmar said even after several rounds of discussions, the employees had not called off the strike.
He added that those not resuming work faced the threat of termination and that legal action would be initiated against those who tried to stop ambulances on roads.
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