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Somaiya seeks HC intervention to rope in private ambulances

By KAY Dodhiya, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 30, 2020 12:00 AM IST

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya has moved the Bombay high Court seeking directions to the state government to increase the number of ambulances in the city and to rope in private ambulance providers to tackle the shortage in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and justice KK Tated wgile, while hearing the petition filed through advocates Gaurav Mehta and Shiwani Agarwal for Dhruve Liladhar & Co., was told that ‘108 ambulance services’ provided by the government has only 93 vehicles in Mumbai which is insufficient considering the number of calls it receives to ferry both Covid and non-Covid patients each day. The advocates submitted there are around 3,000 ambulances run by private operators that have been withdrawn during the lockdown.

“It is shocking and surprising to note that there have been significant amount of disappearances or withdrawals of these private ambulance services from hospitals and/or the streets of the city,” the plea states.

Pointing to the problems faced by Mumbaiites due to the shortage of ambulances, the petition states, “Citizens are waiting for almost entire day in various cases for an ambulance to reach them. Whilst the petitioner appreciates efforts being taken by the Covid-19 warriors, there has to be basic infrastructure in the form of ambulances provided by the government to connect people with healthcare workers.”

The petition filed against state health minister Rajesh Tope and other government authorities further said that nearly 93% privately operated ambulances are absent and government ambulances are insufficient.

The petition has also sought details from the state government on action proposed by it to deal with shortage of ambulances and urged the court to direct the government to take necessary steps to bring the missing ambulances back in the system to aid Covid warriors.

After hearing the submissions, the bench directed the state and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to respond with the details sought in the plea and posted the matter for hearing on June 2.

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