An ambulance driver allegedly forced two boys, who are COVID positive, and their mother to get off the vehicle as they could not pay the exorbitant fare he demanded for a six-km journey between two hospitals in the city.
However, after the intervention of doctors, the driver settled for Rs 2,000, the father of the boys said.
The two brothers -- one of them nine months old and the other aged nine-and-a-half years -- both undergoing treatment at the Institute of Child Health (ICH), tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, after which their father tried hiring an ambulance to take them to a state-run hospital.
The father of the boys alleged that the driver demanded Rs 9,200 to take them to the Kolkata Medical College and Hospital in the College Street area from ICH, which is located at Park Circus.
"The ambulance driver demanded Rs 9,200 to take my sons to KMCH, which is only six kilometres away from this hospital. I told him that I will not be able to pay him and kept on pleading with him, but he did not pay any heed.
"Instead, he removed the oxygen support from my younger son and forced them and their mother out of the ambulance," said the man, a resident of Hooghly district.
"I am thankful to the doctors at ICH. It is because of them that my children could be taken to KMCH for better treatment," he added.