The railway medical superintendent, GRP, RPF and police all refused to help take his body to a hospital; after union members applied pressure, an ambulance finally took the body to Sassoon Hospital
Confusion arose between the Government Railway Police (GRP), the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and city police on Monday, as none of the authorities wanted to take responsibility for moving the body of a gangman to the hospital from Pune station, where he was found unresponsive in the morning.
Too many cooks: The railway union approached the medical superintendent of the Pune railway division, RPF, GRP and the city police, but they all refused to even send an ambulance even though the deceased was a railway employee.
This resulted in a five-hour delay before an ambulance could even be sent to take the gangman to Sassoon Hospital, where he was declared dead. The chaos and delay indicates deplorable medical services and facilities in place for railways staff and passengers.
On Sunday night, the gangman, Ram Karan, was spotted lying outside the senior sectional engineer’s office at Pune railway station. Passing railway employees thought he was asleep. But, when they saw him lying there at 8 am on Monday as well, they suspected he had died. When they found him unresponsive, railway union members alerted the chief medical superintendent, who then told them to arrange for an ambulance themselves.
The union members then approached the RPF and the GRP, but were denied their help as well. When they went to the city police for assistance, they were told that since Karan was a railway employee and he was found at the station, it was a railway matter, and the police could not help.
The union members claim it was only because of constant pressure that the medical superintendent finally sent an ambulance after a delay of five hours. Karan was taken to Sassoon Hospital around 1 pm, where he was declared dead, and a case was registered by the GRP. Railway officials said the cause of death is still unknown.
The prolonged wait for an ambulance displays a lamentable apathy shown by the railways towards its employees, but it also raises concerns over the quality of care that passengers can expect if they ever encounter a medical emergency.
Harsha Shah, president of the Railway Pravasi Group, said, “It is the responsibility of the railway authorities to communicate such things to either the GRP or the RPF. But, due to the delay in the communication the body was lifted after a delay of four to five hours. officials should be proactive to save human lives.”
An RPF official confirmed that the delay was due to confusion, and said, “We were not sure whether the case was under the GRP, RPF or the city police. Hence, there was a delay in calling for the ambulance and shifting the body to the hospital.”
Y K Singh, the public relations official for the Pune Railway Division, said, “The railway officials came to know about the death around 8 am. But, according to the law, the authorities can only communicate such cases to the police after a doctor conducts an inspection and gives a medical report. This resulted in some delay.”