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Coming soon: a single emergency number

This will replace multiple numbers people in different parts of the country use, reports Sanchita Sharma.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2007 04:28 IST

Soon, Indians from Delhi to Dindigul and Kolkata to Kutch will be able to dial a single number for help in emergencies like traffic crashes, fires, suicide attempts, snakebites and deliveries.

The national toll-free emergency response helpline will replace the multiple numbers people in different parts of the country currently dial in crisis.

"To begin with, an integrated trauma care system will be set up along the Golden Quadrilateral and the north-south, east-west corridors to cover accidents. It will be stepped up to cover all national highways in two years," Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said.

Last year, 94,928 people were killed in 4.5 lakh accidents on India’s roads. The new trauma service — a joint initiative by the ministries of health and road transport and highways — will have ambulances every 50 km on highways. "Calling the toll-free number will ensure people get an ambulance in 15 minutes," Ramadoss said.

India has 200 km of expressways and 66,590 km of national highways. Setting up trauma centres along the Golden Quadrilateral alone is expected to cost Rs 700 crore.

First Published: Apr 30, 2007 00:46 IST