Saving Lives,the countrys first project for cashless treatment of road accident victims will be operational from the month of September. Under this project,the government will bear medical expenses upto Rs 30,000 of road accident victims on the Pathankot-Amritsar stretch for the first 72 hours after the accident.
Speaking to the media,Punjab State Road Safety Council Vice-Chairman Dr Kamaljeet Soi,who is the State co-ordinator of the project,informed that a high-powered joint meeting of officials of the Central and state governments took place at Police Lines,Amritsar,on Friday.
The meeting was chaired by IG (Border Zone) R P Mittal,who was representing D S Bains,Punjab Principal Secretary (Home),the chairman of the project. Nitin Gokran,UNion joint secretary (transport highway),and the HS team from Delhi made presentations regarding the contribution of the Centre.
Dr Kamalzit Soi stated that this is the first ever project of its kind in the country and would save many precious lives on the on the 120-km stretch of NH-15 which is used by around 75,000 vehicles every day.
More than 300 people died and 500 people were injured last year on this stretch. It has been observed that a large number of victims are pilgrims on the way to Mata Vaishno Devi from Golden Temple Amritsar and have no local contact to help them in case of accidents.
The Saving Lives project will ensure that accident victims reach hospital on time. To achieve the objectives of the project,volunteers from various social voluntary organisations and self help groups will be trained to provide first aid to accident victims and network with call centres,ambulances,rescue vehicles and the hospitals in case of an emergency.
Rajinder Singh Dhaliwal,vice-chairman of Raahat,The Safe Community Foundation,and president ,Batala Press Club,has agreed to provide volunteers as first responders to help road accident victims on this stretch.
The entire exercise will bring down the time of availability of help from 17 minutes to 10 minutes. Dr Soi expressed that the purpose of the project is not only to provide treatment but to ensure that accidents just dont happen.
A major feature of the project would be a focus on correction of 43 accident-prone black spots on the stretch. Also road accidents will be investigated in more scientific manner to understand the causes. A software would be developed for the on-line monitoring of accident data.
In this direction,a field visit of the stretch under the purview of the project was undertaken by a team lead by Soi,a central government international road safety expert,NHAI officials,and a Punjab Police team led by DSP Harjeet Brar.
The hospitals on the stretch were also visited to evaluate the facilities available to deal with emergencies.