While the issue of providing medical facilities at railway stations, for victims of railway accidents, is a serious one — the state government and railway authorities have been passing the buck to each other.
The Bombay high court was hearing a public interest litigation filed in 2008 by Samir Zaveri, who lost his legs in a railway accident. The PIL seeks provision of medical facilities to accident victims in the ‘Golden Hour’ (within an hour of the accident).
The railways have sent a letter to the government saying that the latter should follow the other states and provide ambulances at railway stations. On the other hand, the government pleader said that it was the liability of the railways to keep ambulances at the railway stations.
Suresh Kumar, advocate for the Western Railway (WR), said: “Maharashtra should follow the system in other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Karnataka, and provide ambulances,” said Kumar. He said that the WR has started a four-digit helpline number, 1276, for emergencies.
Advocate Jamshed Mistry, appointed as amicus curiae [friend of court] and Dipesh Siroya, advocate for Zaveri, said that despite the earlier court orders, the railways did not implement required steps to ensure timely help to victims.
“There was an accident at Churchgate in March. The victim was taken to hospital in a taxi although the station is suppose to have an ambulance parked outside at all times,” said Mistry. The next hearing is on July 7.