More than a year after the Maharashtra government made purple beacons with red flashers mandatory for ambulances, the state’s own ambulances fail to sport the new beacons, violating Supreme Court directives.
In April 2014, the state government, acting on the directives of the apex court, issued a notification making the change in beacon colours mandatory for all ambulance operators.
The onus of replacement of the existing blue ones with the purple beacons with red flashers was put on its operators.
Following the notifications, though private operators have started making the changes, the 937 ambulances in the service of the government under its Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) have failed to follow the directives.
The issue came to the fore during the special drive undertaken by transport offices against the misuse of beacons and the use of fancy number plates that began on August 1.
Private ambulance operators, who were slapped with a fine for continuing with the blue beacons, raised strong objections to the violation by the government’s own ambulances.
They also blamed the RTOs for turning a blind eye to government ambulances.
“All government-owned ambulances still sport blue beacons, yet no action is taken against them. RTOs are targeting only private ambulances for not replacing the beacons,” said Vijay Mohad, an ambulance owner.
He also claimed that the unavailability of purple beacons was making their job difficult.
“We have approached officials from the office of the transport commissioner apprising them about the unavailability of beacons,” he said.
When contacted, Dr Satish Pawar, director, health services, said the project was implemented by the National Health Mission of the central government and the replacement of the beacons was their responsibility. “We will, however, look into the issue and take necessary steps,” said Dr Pawar.