Odisha launches boat ambulance

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Saturday launched the boat ambulance service to help patients reach hospitals in remote areas cut off by rivers, at a cost of Rs 5.40 crore.

The first boat ambulance was launched at Batighar in the Kendrapara district.

Six boat ambulances will add to the road fleet and will be part of the 108 ambulance service.

Two boat ambulances have been sanctioned for Malkangiri, two for Kendrapara and one each for Koraput and Kalahandi.

One has been launched in Kendrapara and the remaining five boat ambulances will be made operational in a phased manner, said a government statement.

The 108 ambulance service has a fleet of 512 ambulances. Similarly, under the 102 ambulance service, 500 ambulances are deployed across the state, the statement said.

Patients from the areas cut off by rivers need to wait long for transportation to the nearest hospital. They would use boats to cross water bodies to be picked up by 108 or 102 ambulance.

This boat ambulance service includes six boat ambulances and 60 jetties with the walkway. The operational cost for these six ambulances is estimated to be around Rs 90 lakh per annum.