No salaries for six months, 104 services staff struggle to make ends meet in Telangana

According to sources, the wages of the 104 services staff have to be paid under the Aarogyasri scheme.
No salaries for six months, 104 services staff struggle to make ends meet in Telangana

NALGONDA : The para medical staff of 104 ambulance services working in various primary health centres of the state are struggling to make ends meet as they have not been paid salaries for the last six months.

These services, which were started in 2008, were cancelled by the previous BRS government in 2021. However, the government issued orders accommodating 1,350 para medical staff and drivers from these services in various primary health centres in the state.

In the past, through these services, various types of medical tests used to be conducted for people living in rural areas and if necessary, they were taken to the district central hospitals.

Under these services, two lab technicians, a pharmacist, a data entry operator, a driver and a security guard are employed for every 104 vehicle.

Speaking to TNIE on condition of anonymity, a pharmacist said: “We have not received our salaries since the new government was formed in the state.”

Salaries delayed under the pretext of poll code

“Whenever we approached the district officials, they told us that salaries are being delayed due to election code. But why should payment of salaries be stopped even if the election code is in force?” he wondered.

Requesting the government to pay their pending salaries, especially since the election code has also been lifted, another staffer said that they don’t know how to look after their families if they don’t receive their pay immediately.

“Besides regular family expenses, we also have to find money to send our children to school. Schools have already been reopened. We have to pay school fees and buy uniforms and textbooks. I don’t know how are we going to manage,” he lamented.

According to sources, the wages of the 104 services staff have to be paid under the Aarogyasri scheme. But in order to avoid delay in paying salaries, the government used to take money from the interest paid on the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scheme funds and later that amount used to be reimbursed from Aarogyasri funds.

“The interest earned on lakhs of rupees deposited in banks was previously used to pay salaries of 104 services staff. Before the Assembly elections, the previous BRS government took interest from the NRHM deposits in the districts and used it for other schemes,” sources added.

Salaries likely to be paid on Friday, say officials

Meanwhile, the Nalgonda District Medical and Health department officials said that the state government sanctioned four months salaries to 104 services staff. The salaries will be deposited in the bank account of these employees on Friday and the remaining two months salaries will be sanctioned soon, they added.

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