Skip to main content

Gujarat govt fails to "operationalise" 110 new emergency ambulances, 10 for coastal areas, in stipulated time frame

GVK-EMRI emergency ambulances lying idle in
Naroda, Ahmedabad, "pending fabrication"
By Sumit Kumar Ganguly*
Even as the Gujarat government continues to claim that it the one of the two pioneering states – the other being Andhra Pradesh – in introducing free emergency services through what are identified as 108 ambulances, a Right to Information (RTI) reply suggests the failure to operationalize 110 new ones across the state within four months it was supposed to do.
As of August 2017, when the emergency service, run by the Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) of the Secunderabad-based GVK group, completed 10 years of operation in Gujarat, were in all 585 emergency 108 ambulances.
Following a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Jandurbhai Menshibhai Baladhiya of Shiyalbet island, off Saurashtra coast, the Gujarat High Court asked the state government to ensure that 110 new 108 ambulances were made operational within a period of four months.
The order, which is dated August 18, 2017, followed a state government affidavit in the High Court, which said it would provide these ambulances in four months, also stated that of these new ambulances, 10 should be earmarked and allocated exclusively for the coastal areas of Gujarat.
The affidavit also stated that base vehicles of 110 new ambulances had been bought, and fabrication work was on.
On being told by Baladhiya that no new vehicles had been working in the coastal area of Saurashtra where he lived, as promised by the state government, I filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005, on January 5, 2018 before the Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of Gujarat.
The RTI application specifically referred to the Gujarat High Court Order dated August 18, 2017, which is based on the PIL by Baladhiya.
Scanned from RTI reply: Vehicles "working"
in coastal harbours
The RTI plea wanted information on (1) whether the 110 new 108 ambulances have been made operational; (2) whether 10 such new 108 ambulances out of the 110 had been earmarked and allocated exclusively for the coastal areas; and (3) whether the 10 new 108 ambulances had been made operational in the coastal areas.
The Public Information Officer (PIO) of the state health department transferred the RTI application to the PIO, Office of the Deputy Director (Medical Services), on January 12, 2018. The PIO and Deputy Director (Medical Services), who sent across his reply dated February 7, 2018, appeared to evade answering the three questions directly.
However, in his reply he said that 112 base vehicles for 108 ambulances had been “purchased” from Tata (37) and Force (75), adding, online tenders had been invited for the fabrication of the base vehicles.
Meanwhile, he said, Board Level Committee (BLC) of the Gujarat Medical Services Corporation Ltd had “examined” the issue, but failed to arrive at any conclusion on whom to give tender for completing the fabrication work. He added, the matter would be taken up at the next BLC meeting.
Clearly, the new 110 emergency ambulances had neither been prepared nor allocated.
Based on information provided by the GVK-EMRI, the RTI reply also lists seven coastal spots where the 108 ambulances have been running. However, it does not say whether any new 108 ambulances are running on these spots.
The seven locations are Jakhau Harbour (Kutch district), Okha Harbour (Devbhumi Dwarka district), Porbandar Harbour (Porbandar district), Mangrol Harbour (Junagadh district), Veraval Harbour (Gir Somnath district), Navabandar Harbour (Gir Somnath district), and Jafrabad Harbour (Amreli district).
The RTI reply attaches photographs of the seven ambulances. According to locals, the photographs of the ambulances were willfully taken to the respective harbours for the purpose showing that the coastal ambulance service was working perfectly well.
---
*Research associate, Centre for Social Justice, Ahmedabad. Contact: sumitkrganguly@gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Across the board, among Muslims, Hindus, there's enormous fury at Delhi Police: Report

Counterview Desk
A quick report, prepared by Delhi's concerned citizens, "Let Us Heal Our Dilli", based on one-day visit (February 27) to several areas and mohallas of North East Delhi affected by the riots that gripped the country's capital -- Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Chaman Park, Shiv Vihar, Main Mustafabad (including Bhagirathi Vihar and Brijpuri) -- has said everywhere there is "zero trust" towards that the police.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.