The field staff of the GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) decided to continue their strike, though the Meghalaya government has promulgated the Meghalaya Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) which prohibited strike by the staff.
Under the banner of the Meghalaya Emergency Management and Research Institute Workers’ Union (MEMRIWU) the staff while continuing the strike demanded from the state government to immediately terminate the agreement with GVK EMRI.
The state government through additional secretary to the political department stated the promulgation of the state was in exercise of the power conferred by sub-Section (1) of Section 3 of the Meghalaya Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1980 (No.23 of 1980), Amendment Act 2003, and in public interest.
“This order comes into force with immediate effect and will remain in force for a period of six months,” the order said.
Due to the strike by the field staff, emergency services across the 11 districts of Meghalaya have been affected.
In Shillong and other districts of Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills, a fleet of ambulances were parked outside the office of GVK EMRI at Lawmali.
The staff alleged the state government has remained indifferent towards their 36 charter of demands.
Roypar Kharraswai, who is the president of the union, said the promulgation of ESMA was to stop the field staff from fighting for their own rights.
He said the state government has turned a deaf ear to various grievances faced by the field staff which includes shortage of manpower, shortage of ambulances and in poor condition, salary and others.
The union has also agreed that an independent inquiry or CBI inquiry should be instituted into the functioning of the GVK EMRI in Meghalaya because the state government has sanctioned Rs 1.47 lakh per ambulance per month for maintenance, but the ambulances are in pathetic condition.
There were only 43 ambulances.
The field staff demanded that the state government should consider bringing the emergency services under the state health department.