With the death rate in road accidents as high as 90% in Punjab, the state has become the first in the country to bag an ambitious scheme that can provide some succour to the victims in the shape of cashless treatment.
The government of India, in collaboration with the state government, will roll out in the month of August the project for cashless treatment of victims of road accident on Pathankot-Amritsar stretch, it being the national highway linking the Golden Temple and Vaishno Devi.
In this Rs 20-crore pilot project, the centre will provide five advance life support ambulances (ALSAs), six basic life support ambulances (BLSAs), five rescue vehicles (cranes) and five hydraulic cutters.
To ensure foolproof implementation of the project, the state government has constituted a high level committee under the chairmanship of principal secretary, home, DS Bains. Noted road safety expert and vice chairman of Punjab state road safety council Dr Kamaljeet Soi has been appointed the state coordinator for the project, secretary, home, is the nodal officer, principal secretaries of health and PWD and ADGP, traffic, are the other members of the committee.
Asked about the reason for picking this specific stretch, Dr Soi said: "As per the NCRB data, 309 lives were lost in accidents on this particular stretch in 2011."
As a part of this pilot project, the government will bear all medical expenses during the first 72 hours of hospitalisation of accident victims.
The project will commence on the 108-km stretch of NH-15, which is used by around 75,000 vehicles daily on their way to Vaishno Devi and one bus passing this stretch every 1.5 minutes.
As a part of the project, the accident victims after being referred to other private hospitals will be charged "rates" fixed under the central government health scheme (CGHS).