Shimla: The Himachal government, in the presence of chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, today signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GVK – EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) Hyderabad for starting free ambulance services in the state on a private public partnership (PPP) mode.
PC Dhiman, principal secretary health on behalf of the government and Venkata Changavalli, CEO GVK-EMRI signed the documents at a simple ceremony that among others was attended by health minister Rajiv Bindal.
The service â€œAtal Swasthay Sevaâ€™ would become operational by 2nd October, 2010 and would have 100 well equipped ambulances stationed in different parts of the state. The service would be available by dialing 108 number.
Dhumal speaking on the occasion said that the ambulance services would be available free of cost to every citizen at capital cost of Rs. 18 crore and recurring cost of Rs. 14.39 crore per annum.
The first batch of ambulances would be made operational from October 2, 2010, from the districts of Sirmour, Solan, Una and Hamirpur followed by two more phases to cover all the twelve districts by December 25, 2010 so as to mark the celebration of birthday of former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, he said.
Though the state had good health indicators but being a hilly state it was prone to road accidents and the ambulance service would help to provide timely interventions, he added.
Venkat Changavalli said that 600 local youths would find employment opportunities in the ambulance service. He appealed that people should not misuse the service by making hoax calls.