Even as Uttar Pradesh awaits implementation of the long-pending multi-crore Emergency Medical Transport Service (108) project (EMTS),the health department has come up with another proposal for running ambulances.
The proposal for the 102 scheme,which entails procurement of another 988 ambulances for all block-level CHC-PHC and district hospitals,is being placed before the Government of India for approval under the additional Project Implementation Plan (PIP) of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
The EMTS scheme was first proposed under NRHM in the year 2009-10. The funds for procurement of these ambulances was approved by the Government of India in 2010-11. A total of 779 ambulances were procured from Tata Motors for the scheme in 2010-11 at a cost of Rs 54.5 crore. However,many of these ambulances are still parked at the Tata warehouse in Lucknow for want of an operator to run the scheme.
According to the scheme,the ambulances,fitted with Basic Life Support System,were to be run by a private operator. The operator was to establish a call centre and arrange for a doctor,paramedical staff as well as a driver for running the ambulances. Costing Rs 7 lakh each,the ambulance was to be fitted with life-saving equipment and connected to the control room call centre through GPS.
However,the entire scheme remained pending till December 2011,when the state government finally selected a service provider through tender procedure. An agreement between the state government and service provider GVK EMRI (UP) Private Limited was signed on December 21,2011. But another service provider,Falck India,moved the high court against the government decision to award the tender to GVK EMRI and the court stayed the tender proceedings of EMTS on February 2,2012. The matter is pending in court and the transfer of ambulances to the service provider is stuck.
Now the government is planning to start another ambulance system 102 ambulance scheme. Under the scheme,the state government is again planning to procure 988 ambulances for block-level operations. These ambulances will basically be used for Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram and Janani Suraksha Yojana in the state,where we are providing free transport facility for pregnant women to and from the hospital, said Mukesh Meshram,Mission Director,NRHM.
The 102 scheme will also have a call centre in each district,which will have the number 102,and GPS-enabled ambulances will be connected to the call centre. Whether the ambulances will be run by a service provider or by health department is yet to be decided,said Meshram.