The Ghaziabad district authority has initiated an investigation after a woman protested that she was charged Rs 5 lakh by an ambulance driver for shipping her Covid positive relative from Noida to Varanasi. The driver returned Rs 1 lakh after the protest. The woman, an inhabitant of Rajnagar extension in Ghaziabad, briefed District Magistrate Rakesh Kumar Singh that her brother-in-law had tried positive in April. She stated after failing to get any bed in the hospitals of Ghaziabad and Noida, they administered a hospital bed in Varanasi. They then booked an ambulance provisioned with an advanced life support system from Noida. Thus, the driver demanded Rs 5 lakh for the ride from Noida to Varanasi.
The relatives paid the money in full at the time to ignore any trouble, but have now appeared to the authorities against the crudely unfair charge.
In accordance with the grievance lodged with the district magistrate, the ambulance drove 816 km from Noida to Varanasi, and nearly 1600 km for the round trip. In spite of the government fixing rates for hiring ambulances, operators charge irrational fares from the families of Covid victims. According to the government rates, the most exorbitant ambulance which comes with a physician costs Rs 4000 for the initial 10 km. Then after, Rs 75 for every km would be charged. Therefore, the government rates would mean Rs 1,25,000 fare in this case.
The fare was five times larger than what a Volvo bus would charge from Noida to Varanasi. Bus and Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) chairman Gurmeet Singh Taneja stated a Volvo bus generally charges Rs 65 per km for passengers. The woman, thus, was charged Rs 306 per km which makes the fare about nearly five times that of the luxury commercial vehicle.
The district magistrate stated even though the instance falls under Noida administration, but since the lady is a resident of Ghaziabad the subject will be investigated by city magistrate Vipin Kumar.