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News Entry# 288121
Dec 09 2016 (10:25)  State may withdraw ambulance services from suburban stations (
News Entry# 288121     
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The state government may withdraw the `108' ambulance service from stations in the suburban network if the Railways doesn't shoulder their operational costs. The government's decision has reportedly been prompted by the fact that the ambulances have rarely been used since they were deployed in March 2014.
The ambulance service is provided by the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services.
A total of 48 ambulances have been provided across various stations on the Mumbai suburban system, both on Western Railway and Central Railway , to ensure that accident victims get treatment within the “golden hour“,
following a Bombay High Court directive.
“The state government has found that the usage of the service is so low that these ambulances are catering to less than one patient per day ,“ sources said.
In a letter to the Railways in September, the state government has pointed out that the demand for this ambulance service is the lowest in Mumbai, compared to other regions of Maharashtra where this facility has been provided. The government has asked CR and WR to pay the operational cost of the ambulances, stating it will otherwise be forced to withdraw the service from the Mumbai suburban network's stations and instead deploy them in other districts where demand is much higher. Sources said the operational cost per ambulance is Rs 2 lakh per month.
WR's general manager G C Agarwal said, “The letter was written to us a couple of months ago after which I asked officials from the medical department to get in to uch with the state government to resolve the issue. So far there has not been any further correspondence from the state government on this issue.“
Railway activist Samir Zaveri, who had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court on this issue said, “The ambulance service has been provided on the orders of the high court. The number of ambulances should instead be increased to ensure that no li ves are lost.“
On January 15, 2009, the HC had ordered, “WR, CR and the State of Maharashtra shall inform the court as to how they propose to provide ambulances at different railway stations. To begin with, the ambulances should be provided at all railway stations or at least at major stations which can also cover some small stations adjacent to them or within short distance to the main railway station.“
2 injured in mishaps
In seperate incidents, two men were killed on railway tracks on Thursday between Kalwa and Diva. The first accident was reported around 10am when an injured man was found lying on the tracks between Kalwa and Thane. Another youth was found seriously injured between Mumbra and Diva around 12pm.
Given the high number of accidents, ambulance services for railway commuters is necessary and both the state and railways need to share the expenses.The sight of commuters being carried to hospitals in taxis and autos by fellow travelers is a familiar one.
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