The demand for a green corridor for ambulances was made after a study on the flow of the emergency vehicles, said Harman Sidhu, member of Road Safety Council. The green corridor was proposed in a September 13 Road Safety Council meeting chaired by UT Adviser Parimal Rai. Traffic police officers have been asked to explore the possibility.
“We studied the flow from Panchkula and Mohali to three eminent health institutes in Chandigarh — GMCH-32, GMSH-16 and PGIMER. We observed the movement of ambulances at two locations, Grain Market roundabout-26 on Madhya Marg and Sector 29 roundabout on Dakshin Marg. We studied these two points between 6.30 pm and 7.30 pm, and found there is an ambulance passing through every nine minutes,” said Sidhu.
Sidhu maintains the stretch between Sector 29 roundabout and Transport light point-26 on Madhya Marg passing through phase-1, Industrial Area, Sector 29, and Sector 28, is ideal for a green corridor as the width of the road is good.
In Chandigarh, six ambulances are attached with helpline number 108 and are stationed in Sector 15, Sector 26, Mauli Jagran, Sector 47 dispensary, Sector 48 dispensary and Sector 34. Nine other ambulances are run by health helpline number 102 and are stationed at GMSH-16, Civil Hospital, Sector 22, Civil Hospital, Sector 45 and Civil Hospital, Manimajra.
“The ambulances attached with 102 are used in all kind of emergency situations. Even critical patients are referred to PGI and GMCH-32 in these ambulances. The drivers of these vehicles are trained, “ Dr Satbir Singh, senior medical officer, said
In the PGI, there is a fleet of 21 ambulances operated by Red Cross Society, UT, and three NGOs. The GMCH-32 has a fleet of nine ambulances. These ambulances are equipped with both basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS).
In addition, 187 ambulances registered with STA are being used by private hospitals in Chandigarh, and these charge for their services. “We acknowledge the demand for the special green corridor for the ambulances in the city and exploring the chances how the corridor be constructed here,” said DIG (UT) O P Mishra. He said special instructions had been given to all police personnel, especially traffic police, to ensure free passage to ambulances.
“It is a globally accepted precedent to allow an ambulance to cross red lights. In Chandigarh, we have allowed ambulances to drive on the opposite side of the road in case of huge traffic. We have strictly instructed traffic police personnel deployed at light points to always make a way for ambulances. In fact, even during VVIP and VIP movement, ambulances are given preference.”
Sources in traffic police said, “We have already earmarked a route, especially for ambulances coming from the side of Panchkula towards GMSH-16 and PGI, during peak hours. We advised them to always adopt IT park route from Mansa Devi road to reach Durga Nursery light point, from here to St Kabir light point, to the road of Punjab Raj Bhawan and straight towards Punjab Engineering College (PEC) and turn to PGI.”
In November 2009, after a kidney patient from Ambala, Sumit Verma, died and his kin alleged that it was because security arrangements prevented them from entering PGI during the visit of the then PM Manmohan Singh, a high-level inquiry was marked. Though no one was found at fault, huge corrective measures were taken at the time, including always giving preference to ambulances during VVIP and VIP visits, and instructions to traffic police personnel for always making a passage for an ambulance at red signals.