Jeypore: In September this year when the bike ambulance service was launched in the remote areas of Koraput district, people thought the trouble of carrying patients to distant hospitals and health care centres on cots and slings would be over.
However, two months after the launch of the ambitious project, the ground realities defy that hope. The ambulances provided by the government have remained unused ever since they arrived, thanks to official apathy.
In September this year, the government had provided eight bike ambulances to be used for patients in Dasmantpur, Naryanapatana, Bandhugam, Laxmipur, Lamataput, Kundra blocks. However, these have become non-starter in absence of drivers, sources said.
Locals alleged that the half-hazard implementation of the scheme has made medical access during emergency situations as difficult a task as it used to be in the past.
Adding to their woes is the poor road connectivity to these areas which leaves the villagers with no option but to carry patients on cots, slings as vehicular movement is not possible on the dirt tracks. Sometimes the patients are made to walk long distances to access ambulances, the villagers alleged.
Two months on after the launch of the much-touted bike-ambulance service, the all-equipped bikes brought to lend helping hand to patients are now biting dust.
— OTV (@otvnews) November 24, 2020
"We have no alternatives but to carry patients including pregnant woman in slings or cots due to poor road communication. We have brought the matter before the notice of the Collector several times, but to no avail," said Biswanath Bisoi, a local.
“Why do we need the bike ambulances if patients are still carried on cots, slings and shoulders? It would be better if the Government make the service functional by appointing drivers at the earliest," said Padmanav Jani, a local.
Meanwhile, Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO), Koraput Makarand Beura claimed that all official formalities have been completed and the services will begin very soon.
"We have already selected the drivers for the bike ambulances in eight blocks. The RTO has conducted driving tests of those who have been selected for appointment. They will join the duty very soon," said the CDMO.