It has been found that there is no proper system for registering ambulances in Chandigarh
A liquor baron, real estate groups and engineering companies — these are some of the groups on whose names ambulances are registered with the Chandigarh State Transport Authority (STA).
According to the list of owners accessed by Chandigarh, during the past five years, as many as 88 ambulances were registered by the transport department. The highest number of 20 ambulances, were registered in 2013, while as in 2014 and 2015, 13 ambulances were registered. In 2011 and 2012, 18 and 19 were registered with the department respectively. This year, six ambulances have been registered so far.
In 2015, of 13 ambulances registered with the department, four are registered on the name of Trident Ltd – a manufacturing company, while as one ambulance belongs to Pawan Liquors and real estate firm Malwa Projects. Several others are registered in the names of schools and other institutes.
From 2011 to 2014, several organisations have registered ambulances in the city. It also includes pet clinics, NGOs, restaurants and schools in the city.
In 2016, most of the ambulances were registered on the name of trusts, while as one was registered on the name of Santokh Clinic – a nutrition in dietician centre in Chandigarh.
When Chandigarh Newsline contacted some of the owners, one of them said they were running the ambulance services for “poor people”, while a few others said ambulances were for their “own use”. “Our ambulance is operating in Maur city of Punjab. There was a need for the people and our ambulance is helping the local people,” said Arvind Singla, one of the directors of Pawan Liquors.
Harinder Singh, a senior official of DCM Engineering, said their ambulance was stationed in Ropar and it is used to “ferry their staff workers in case of any emergency”. “It is exclusive for our people only,’ Singh said.
According to city-based charted accountants, the corporate groups registered ambulances to show “some activity under Corporate social responsibility” activities.
“Each company has to do some CSR activity and registering ambulances is one of the ways,” said Sahil Singla, a city-based chartered accountant. “They can also claim deprecation on the cost of the vehicle.”
With a monitoring mechanism on the operating of ambulances lacking in the city, the health department is now mulling certification for the vehicles. “I have directed the health department to prepare a system so that some sort of certification is done,” said UT health secretary Anurag Aggarwal.
Chandigarh Newsline had Wednesday had reported how there was no monitoring system in the city and no strict rules in place for registering an ambulance. Recently, several people were arrested by people in PGI after the UT police busted a gang that was operating unauthorised ambulances at the Institute.