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Gujarat worker loses 3 fingers in factory machine, ESI 'refuses' treatment, ambulance to Ahmedabad

Neeraj
By Our Representative
Senior health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC) has strongly protested against the manner in which a factory worker, Neeraj Kumar Singh, was treated by the Central government's Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) authorities after he met with an accident on July 30 in which he lost three fingers.
Working in Chopra Industries in Waghodiya, off Vadodara, Gujarat's cultural capital, Neeraj, aged 24, worked as a trainee, and is paid Rs 308 per day, from which his ESI contribution is deducted. As Waghodiya does not have ESI facilities, soon after he lost his fingers while running in a pressing machine, he had to be rushed to the ESI Hospital, Gotri, 25 km away.
From Gotri, he was sent to the Metro Hospital, and at At 1.30 am he was told that they couldn't treat him, and was again send back to Gotri's ESI Hospital, which referred to the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. Patel said, the ESI authorities provided him an ambulance, which left him at the State Transport (ST) bus stand at 2.30 am amidst incessant rains.
Accompanied by his brother, Neeraj reached Ahmedabad by ST but in the morning, and was treated in the Civil Hospital. Comments Patel, "We have not been able to prevent accidents in press machine despite special provisions in the Gujarat Factory Rules. There is need to make an inquiry if the rules are followed, and it not, why. If followed, why accidents continue to occur at regular interval? Do we need to relook at the rules?"
The senior activist wonders, "Why ESI is not providing secondary treatment at Waghodiya itself? Why is the Gotri ESI hospital referring patients to other hospitals? Why did it fail to give ambulance up to Ahmedabad in the night hours when it was raining? Why was he not sent to the model ESIC hospital in Bapunagar, Ahmedabad, immediately? Is it not equipped to provide services to the insured persons under the ESI Act?"

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