The Telegraph
Monday , June 19 , 2017

Highway lifesavers from July

- CM Das pledges 24/7 ambulance service, helpline to reduce accident toll

Chief minister Raghubar Das being felicitated by residents during the foundation stone laying ceremony of the park and Chhath Ghat at Baridih, Jamshedpur, on Sunday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

Jamshedpur, June 18: Jharkhand will have its own fleet of highway ambulances from July, chief minister Raghubar Das promised today.

The state government would launch a fleet of 50 ambulances equipped with life support systems on highways in July and increase the number to around 300 by November 15, Jharkhand's statehood day, the chief minister told the media this afternoon on Surya Mandir premises, stressing his government's urgency to push for 24/7 medical assistance to reduce highway casualties.

"We are aware of the need to provide medical aid to accident victims as fast as possible on state and national highways in Jharkhand and from July we will launch our first fleet of 50 ambulances. By November 15, the state will have nearly 300 ambulances with life support systems to provide 24/7 services. Toll-free number 108 will also work from July and an ambulance will reach a mishap spot within 15 minutes of calling," Das promised.

This announcement assumes significance as Jharkhand High Court had in May this year directed the state government to procure a fleet of ambulances for accident-prone highways at the earliest. Jharkhand has 18 state and 24 national highways, on which around 1,800 lives were lost between January and May this year.

Admitting problems in existing trauma centres at Baharagora on NH-33 in East Singhbhum and NH-75 in Garhwa, Das promised to hire doctors soon and reiterated the government's plan to open three new centres in NH-33 (Ranchi), NH-2 (Koderma) and NH-143 (West Singhbhum).

"There are issues with appointments of doctors at trauma centres. We are working on filling up those vacancies. Recently, directives have been issued to fill up trauma centre posts on a contractual basis, so we're hoping to have doctors soon. We will also have three new trauma centres along NH-33, NH-2 and NH-143," he said.

Contacted, an official at CM's Ranchi office said: "All proposed ambulances will have life support equipment like glucometers, defibrillators, pulse oximeter, intranasal naloxone injection, splints, oxygen tanks, masks, cardiac monitor, among others,"

The chief minister added that work on Vedanta Resources Group 1 MT steel plant at an investment of Rs 2,000 crore would begin in July at Manoharpur block in West Singhbhum district. The MoU had been signed during Global Investors' Summit in Ranchi this February.

Replying to journalists on the forces behind lynchings at Rajnagar (Seraikela-Kharsawan) and Nagadih (in Bagbera near Jamshedpur), the chief minister said the state had acted on the findings of the two-member probe committee comprising Kolhan commissioner Pradeep Kumar and erstwhile Kolhan DIG Prabhat Kumar.

"Based on the probe committee report, we have concluded that political parties and communal forces bent on disturbing the social fabric were responsible. The government has identified such forces and will act against them, as per law, to prevent recurrences. I would appeal to the masses not to be swayed by such forces," he said.

The chief minister who came to Jamshedpur on NH-33 via Bundu this time after attending the wedding of Tamar MLA Vikas Munda on Friday evening, also spoke on topical issues at length with journalists (see box).

Earlier in the day, Das also laid the foundation stone of a park and a Chhath Ghat being developed by Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee on the banks of Subernarekha in Bhojpur colony, Baridih.

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