Doubts over Chhattisgarh ambulance service in Maoist hotbeds | india | Hindustan Times
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Doubts over Chhattisgarh ambulance service in Maoist hotbeds

The Chhattisgarh government said on Tuesday that it will provide ambulance services to its urban citizens within 22 minutes and to rural citizens within 30 minutes of dialling 108. However, officials said the plan can't make headway in Maoist hotbeds.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2010 17:13 IST

The Chhattisgarh government said on Tuesday that it will provide ambulance services to its urban citizens within 22 minutes and to rural citizens within 30 minutes of dialling 108. However, officials said the plan can't make headway in Maoist hotbeds.

Health Minister Amar Agrawal said government has okayed a Rs.100 crore emergency medical response service scheme to be launched in two phases. It will cover all 18 districts.

He said that the first phase of the scheme will be launched Aug 15 with 50 ambulances. A fleet of 122 ambulances will be available in the second and final phase from December.

"The ambulance will reach in urban area within 22 minutes and in rural areas within 30 minutes a caller who just needs to dial 108," Agrawal told reporters.

He refused to comment whether the government will implement the scheme in a interior hamlets in the state's Maoist-hit Bastar region.

"It's indeed a good scheme but the big problem is that it can't cover residents of jungle area where there is a total breakdown of health facilities since decades and people are dying even due to very minor diseases as government is not in a position to give medical care," remarked a senior health official posted in Bastar where Maoists command nearly 40,000 sq km area.

He feared that Maoists would hit ambulances and medical staff in a similar fashion as a civilian bus was blown up last month in Bastar's Dantewada district. A total of 35 people were killed in the incident.

"I doubt the scheme will be useful for a vast impoverished restive Bastar region where nearly 25,000 sq km area, out of the nearly 40,000 sq km, is massively mined," said an expert on Maoist issues, Anil Vibhakar, based in capital Raipur.

"In fact, it's beyond the capacity of the government to enforce any scheme in Bastar interiors and in certain parts of Rajnandgaon district in western Chhattisgarh where Maoists enjoy an absolute command," he said.