Shimla: Having been unable to start the free ambulance service at first go, the scheme is ready for a launch and would initially be available in six district before it is extended to others.
Named after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, free ambulance services at a call service would be launched on 25th December, which also happens to be the Vajpayeeâ€™s birthday.
The Atal Swasthya Sewa scheme about providing timely intervention in emergency situations would be launched initially in Shimla, Hamirpur, Sirmaur, Solan, Una and Bilaspur districts, Rajeev Bindal, the health minister disclosed.
Sources disclosed that initially about 40 ambulances would be in place to launch the service.
About extending the service to other districts, the minister said, â€œother than the tribal districts of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, the scheme would be extended to all districts.â€
The ambitious project of providing ambulance services within half an hour of an emergency call in the accident prone state had earlier proved a non-starter as the company that was awarded the multi-year contract has failed to meet even preliminary conditions laid out.
In January, the health department had awarded a Rs 20 crore emergency medical response and transportation scheme to an Indo-German venture of Anjana Industries and Ambulance Aicher Union for a five year term after approving a competitive bid procedure.
The agreement had provided for having 100 ambulances in place by March that were to be made available for picking up an emergency within 30 minutes in urban areas and 45 minutes in rural area after taking in an toll free emergency call.
As the service provider failed to meet out contractual obligations, the government changed the terms and decided to go in for a PPP mode and zeroed down on Hyderabad-based GVK-EMRI company.
To be funded under the National Rural Health Mission, Himachal would be the 11 state in the country to start the service.