Seemingly concerned over political mileage gained through Centre-sponsored schemes by opposition parties who are ruling some states, the Congress-led UPA government has now asked all state governments to display the words ‘National Ambulance Service’ on the Dial 108 emergency service vehicles latest by April 1.
This may soon lead to removal of the picture of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal from these ambulances, and thus likely to generate a war of words between the SAD-BJP alliance government and the UPA regime.
“The state governments will ensure that ‘National Ambulance Service’ be written in three languages – English, Hindi and regional language – on every 108 ambulance provided by the central government to the states. These ambulances will carry logo of the National Rural Health Mission. It will not carry any pictures of political dignitaries,” union health minister Gulam Nabi Azad was quoted as saying by Punjab Youth Congress chief Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, who met him in Delhi recently.
Chaudhary said Azad telephonically passed these instructions to officials when the party leaders met him to raise the issue of removal of Badal’s pictures from the ambulances. “Not only is Punjab’s ruling combine misusing the ambulance service to propagate its political cause, the state government in Uttar Pradesh has christened it as Samajwadi Ambulance Sewa, and in Himachal Pradesh the then BJP government had named it Atal Swasthya Sewa. The minister has passed orders to clear ambiguity over the nomenclature,” Chaudhary told HT.
The Punjab Youth Congress had launched a statewide protest against the SAD-BJP government for claiming credit for Centre-sponsored projects. After pressing hard for the removal of Badal’s pictures from ambulances in different districts, Chaudhary along with several other Congressmen was arrested after being booked for defacement to public property as he pasted the prime minister’s pictures over Badal’s on some of the ambulances.