Sixty-year-old Tara Swamy from Ghorpadigaon,who had no clue about the autorickshaw strike on Monday,went to Command Hospital for an abdominal sonography. There were few autorickshaws plying in the morning. However,now I have been waiting for the last two hours at the bus stand and wondering how to reach home, said Swamy,who has difficulty getting on buses. She had gone to the hospital around 9 am.
For the parents of 21-year-old Priyanka,who was discharged from Command Hospital on Monday,it was a trying time getting to the Pune station area as there was a huge crowd at the bus stand. We have to return to Nashik today and it will take us another hour or so before we reach the bus station, said Priyankas father.
While patients like these were the ones who suffered the most,attendance at various Out Patient Departments (OPDs) in hospitals remained thin. Dr Ambarish Shahade said autorickshaws are the lifeline of the city. Most middle-class citizens depend on this mode of travel despite the rising fare. I had to cancel some appointments as people who visit the hospital from far off places were not able to find autorickshaws, said Shahade.
However,ambulance drivers helped several patients who wanted to reach a particular hospital.
Dr Keshav Kshirsagar,president of the Ambulance Drivers Association,said,There are 900 ambulances but 450-500 are functional in the city. We got 20 to 30 per cent more requests on Monday than other days, said Kshirsagar . He added that a critical patient was shifted from Jagtap Hospital to a private one.