42-year-old Sethuraj’s death due to electrocution in Chennai’s Chitlapakkam area on Monday caused anger among residents over the government’s civic apathy. An audio clip, purportedly of a phone conversation between the victim’s wife and a 108 ambulance staff member, went viral on WhatsApp following which the staff member was criticised for lack of sensitivity.
According to The New Indian Express, the 108 Ambulance Service staff who attended the call has been terminated.
In the audio clip, the caller can be heard asking for an ambulance to take Sethuraj, who had just been electrocuted, to another private hospital from the government hospital. The staff member, inspite of the urgency in the caller’s voice, says that the service is only available for government hospitals. “You need to take them in an Ola if you want to go to a private hospital,” the staff can be heard saying.
Addressing the issue, Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijaya Bhaskar in a press meet said, “In addition to the emergency services, we will have a specific sector for inter-facility transfers. We have improved our services and all ambulances are now GPS fitted.”
The victim Sethuraj was a driver who had left his residence around 8.30 pm to feed four stray dogs that he took care of in his locality, when the incident happened.
This comes just a day after Dheena Senthil, a 14-year-old boy, was electrocuted to death after coming in contact with an exposed live wire. The incident took place on Sunday at around 10 pm in Dhanam Nagar, near the old post office in Chennai’s Mugalivakkam neighbourhood. Dheena, a resident of the neighbourhood, was walking on the street when he stepped on the electricity board wire which had not been isolated and buried properly by Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) personnel.