Pradeep Singh

A State where hospitals don't have doctors, how far the newly-launched air ambulance service will serve the purpose, questioned the Opposition post the launch of 'Mukhyamantri Vayu Swasthya Seva' (Air Health Services) at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneswar on Monday. The service was flagged off by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today.

In the first phase, the air health service has been launched for four districts (Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Nuapada and Kalahandi) while the other districts will be covered in a phased manner. Under the project, critical patients at these places will be airlifted to the district headquarter hospitals (DHHs) where specialist doctors will pay visit by air ambulance service and treat them. 

The Opposition parties alleged that the air ambulance service has been launched at a time when the State is facing a severe shortage of doctors, while several interior parts don’t have even motorable roads due to which expectant mothers are often carried on cots and deliver by the side of the road.

Taking a jibe at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, State BJP general secretary Golak Mohapatra said, "The CM is talking about air health services in Odisha when the Capital hospital in Bhubaneswar doesn't have adequate number of doctors." 

Mohapatra said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been undertaking whirlwind tours to different parts of the State to distribute health cards, lay foundation stones and inaugurating several projects in view of the upcoming Panchayat elections. "It has become a tendency of the BJD government to announce a plethora of new schemes ahead of polls. But they forget those once the elections are over," alleged the BJP leader.

Odisha Congress president Niranjan Patnaik accused the BJD of intentionally keeping schemes and projects in bag and inaugurating those or lay foundation stones ahead of different elections in the State. He asked, "Do these schemes and projects actually see the light of the day?"

On CM Naveen being on a health card distribution spree across the State, the Odisha Congress chief said, "I've heard that people are not getting the smart cards which are being distributed."

The Opposition parties also questioned Monday’s inauguration of the bridge over Mahanadi just ahead of the Panchayat elections though its foundation stone was laid in 2014. They alleged that under the garb of developmental works, the ruling-BJD is doing party’s campaign ahead of the Panchayat polls to woo voters.