HYDERABAD: Though the Telangana government has promised free ambulance services to transport the bodies of Gulf migrants from the State, the deceased’s relatives are allegedly denied this benefit, thanks to greedy ambulance drivers. Srisai Ambulance Services, a company that supplies ambulances to the government, charged Rs 1,500 to transport a body, according to a letter one Sherla Harish Kumar wrote to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
After the coffin was unloaded at Girnoor village, the ambulance driver allegedly forced the relatives of the deceased, Sherla Jaladhar, to pay up. Jaladhar passed away in Bahrain recently. Explaining the issue, migrants rights activist Bheem Reddy Mandha said contractors are misusing the government sop. “The State government pays around `10,000 per ambulance trip. However, there are problems with the scheme.” The ambulances are often in bad shape, lack air conditioning, and have faulty doors, due to which, coffins often fall out of the vehicle, he said.
“On reaching the destination, the drivers demand `1,500-2,500, saying they don’t have money for fuel. This is burdensome for the relatives of the deceased, who are already grieving. They end up borrowing money to pay the driver,” Mandha added.