Bhubaneswar: The BJP today strongly condemned the arrest of nearly 350 '108' drivers. Demanding immediate release of 358 ambulance drivers, who were arrested under Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on the night of January 6, BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty said that the demands of the emergency ambulance service were genuine.
On Monday, police used lathi to disperse the agitating ambulance drivers who were staging agitation in front of the office of Revenue Divisional Commissioner (northern division) in Sambalpur demanding immediate release of their colleagues.
All the 108 ambulance employees from 27 districts had gathered here to protest against the arrest of their colleagues.
The Odisha Ambulance Drivers' Union has been agitating for the past 20 days in Sambalpur, demanding permanent job, payment of overtime and food allowance. They are also demanding unconditional release of 358 ambulance drivers arrested on the night of January 6.
On the other hand, ruling BJD defended the police action saying the ambulance drivers should come to a discussion table before resorting to agitation affecting the emergency ambulance service.