The Delhi government's health department is racing against time as it is yet to start the re-tendering process for the 31 ambulances they have to acquire before the Games.
On July 16, Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit had announced that 31 air-conditioned ambulances, equipped with all life-saving appliances, would be purchased, but one month on, the health department is struggling to find the lowest bidders.
"After our public-private partnership deal with Fortis fell through, we had called for short notice tenders to purchase ambulances but the deal didn't happen as even the lowest rates, quoted by the Pune based bidder, were too high," said Kiran Walia, Delhi health minister.
"By this weekend, we will shortlist a company which will provide us all 31 ambulances in 21 days and at reasonable prices. We will have 50 ambulances before the Games," she said.
The state health department has also come up with a novel idea to transport injured sportsmen to hospitals. "We will depute 40 motor-borne paramedics across the Games venues besides the normal and advanced life support ambulances," she said.
While Walia may insist that the situation is in control, it is going to be an uphill task for the state health department to have all 50 ambulances, as required by the Games OC in time. Most city hospitals are already short of ambulances and the government-run Centralized Accidents and Trauma Services (CATS) has only 35 ambulances in working condition, translating in Delhi police-run PCR vans meant for citizen safety doubling up as ambulance service.