Spelling relief to motorists, the road transport ministry has come up with a first-of-a-kind initiative that would ensure timely relief for accident victims.
The ministry is all set to launch a pilot scheme, providing cashless treatment of up to Rs 30,000 to road accident victims within the first 48 hours, on the 110-km Amritsar-Pathankot stretch of the National Highway-15 in August. The scheme would be extended across India later.
This stretch was chosen because it has high vehicular traffic — 75,000 vehicles per day. Last year, the stretch had reported 2,410 accidents.
As part of the scheme, the ministry has tied up with hospitals, trauma centres as well as ambulance services along the stretch to facilitate timely medical treatment. It is also training 1,500 volunteers from the Nehru Yuva Kendra, so they can act as the first responders after an accident.
"During the pilot phase, which will run for a year, the ministry will create a corpus upfront. We are in the process of finalising the corpus fund," said Nitin R Gokarn, joint secretary (transport).
While victims would be provided cashless treatment of up to Rs 30,000 for the first 48 hours, any treatment extended beyond this ceiling will be given at concessional rates.
For the pilot scheme, the National Insurance Company has been given the task of monitoring the corpus and coordinating with the call centre.Experts say the move was long overdue. "It will enhance the chances of survival of a road accident victim by providing proper and timely medical care during the golden hour - the crucial 60 minutes after a highway accident," a trauma care expert at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences said on the condition of anonymity.