Blame it on the shortage of ambulances or their involvement in honouring VIP duties, the government scheme of providing free ambulance service to pregnant women in the remote areas of this district has been hit badly and resultantly women are being forced to rely on private vehicles to reach government hospitals in Sonepat district.
Notably, to counter the child mortality and maternal mortality rates and also to ensure institutional deliveries, the state government, under the Jnani Shishu Suraksha Yojana, had launched a scheme to provide free ambulance service to all pregnant women at village level.
Sample this, on August 22, a Dalit couple of Rabra village, Sandeep Kumar and his wife Mamta Devi (20), who were expecting their first child, had to go to General Hospital at Gohana by hiring an autorickshaw late in the evening.
"Even after making repeated calls on 8295930102 (ambulance control room, Sonepat) to take my wife to the hospital at Gohana for the delivery, no one turned up and we had to travel by an autorickshaw," said Sandeep Kumar.
Similarly, Sonu Kumar, husband of Sudesh Devi, a couple from a backward community in the same village, lost their first child three months ago, after the ambulance did not reach in time and they had to rush government hospital in an autorickshaw.
"In the absence of the ambulance service, the couple reached the hospital late and Sudesh Devi delivered a dead child before she could be taken inside the hospital," said a relative of the couple.
Another couple of Rabra village faced a horrid time on August11, when Aarti Devi, wife of Amarjit, had to wait for a long time for an ambulance to reach and eventually she was made to deliver in the ambulance itself.
A senior doctor at the Sonepat civil hospital claimed that the situation in other villages of this district was no better than Rabra, from where the above-said three incidents were reported.
When HT called up the official ambulance control room of the Sonepat civil hospital to know the reason of ambulance not catering to people's demand, one Aman Kumar, who introduced himself as control room operator, said the department is already facing shortage of vehicles.
He said the situation becomes acute on days when ambulances were made to cater to VIP duties of the chief minister, state governor and government rallies like the Congress function at Panipat scheduled for August 24.
Sonepat chief medical officer Dr Suresh Kumar could not be contacted on his mobile phone for a comment despite best efforts.