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Bangladesh - July 26, 2021

Ambulance syndicate sucking extra money

Lack of monitoring blamed

Golam Mostafa Jibon: Taking the advantage of corona pandemic, a powerful syndicate of ambulances and freezing vehicles carrying patients and corpses has become active around the government and private hospitals in the capital.
The syndicate members are sucking additional money compared to the scheduled rate from the relatives of patients or corpses putting them hostage in many means.
As a result, COVID, non-COVID and other sorts of patients and their relatives are being harassed by them, while renting and carrying.
Meanwhile, an ambulance stand has been established at 60 feet road in Agargaon centering the city’s hospital. Besides, there is a local political syndicate over ambulance parking in different hospitals. The commission of Tk 500 to Tk 1000 goes to the pocket of that political syndicate’s leaders, sources said.
Alamgir Hossain, President of the Dhaka Metropolitan Ambulance Owners’ Association said, “A syndicate around 4,000 ambulances has been established in the capital during the corona pandemic. People are being victims of suffering as there is no policy in the ambulance sector. A writ petition has also been filed in the High Court for a policy.”
He further said, “It takes a lot of time while ambulances travel different parts of the country. Besides, ambulances are forced to pay toll at some bridges and ferries. But, there is no provision to take toll from ambulances. But the lessees are not following these instructions. This also has a financial impact on the patient or their relatives.”
Ramjan Ali, a resident of Gopalganj said, “His relative got admitted at DMCH along with heart attack. He had also been suffered from fever and cough. After a day of admission, he died from the disease. But, problem created then, when we went to rent an ambulance to carry the corpse to Gopalganj from Dhaka. The ambulance driver demanded Tk 12,000 as fare. But, the normal rent of the ambulance was not over Tk 6000 or Tk 7000 before pandemic. Finally, we were forced to pay Tk 11,500 to carry the body.”
Many people like Ramjan Ali are being harassed by the ambulance syndicate as there is no monitoring system by the authorities concerned. Many poor and poverty stricken people are being destitute, while carrying patients or body of deceased.
Elite people urged the authorities concerned to take immediate steps to control the ambulance fare during the pandemic for the sake of nation.

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