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‘Sholay’ style: Bike ambulance grabs attention in Morni

punjab Updated: Jun 05, 2017 11:09 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times

The bike ambulance in Morni was launched on May 13. (Sant Arora/HT Photo)

In a novel, but not particularly effective initiative so far, Panchkula district administration’s motorcycle ambulance project introduced last month to serve those residing in the hilly terrains of Morni has become the talk of this tiny hilly town.

Parked inside the primary health centre here, the contraption is straight out of the iconic film Sholay. There is a big and visible difference, though, the side car attached with three-wheeled ambulance bike is converted into a stretcher.

There is the provision for a first-aid kit, oxygen gas cylinder and enough protection gears including strips to keep patients safe. The blue beacon atop it signals its importance.

Going to remote place, but villagers doubtful

Since its launch on May 13 by CM Manohar Lal Khattar, the bike ambulance that costs Rs 2.5 lakh, is being used to assist anganwadi workers for vaccination in remote areas besides holding awareness camps and distribute medicines.

However, no critically ill emergency patient has yet used its service.

“As it has been seen in last two weeks, these vehicles are not running well in ‘kaccha’ and uneven roads due to heavy stretcher equipped with the bike. There are safety concerns,” said Morni sarpanch Mam Chand.

He added that link roads to villages were not motorable, leading to all sorts of problems in reaching the main health centre.

“If the state government is serious about improving people’s life here, they should first work upon providing last mile connectivity here. If that happens, health facilities will automatically improve and get connected with people living in remote areas,” he added.

Varinder Singh, a sarpanchs of Rajji Tikri village said that he saw the new introduction more as first-aid vehicle rather than used to ferry critical patients.

“We have just two normal ambulances for Morni that comprises 300 villages and 25,000 residents. It will a huge relief for area residents if one ambulance is permanently stationed at Morni area’s five clusters so that the critical patients from far off places are quickly ferried to hospitals,” he said.

A health worker deployed with the motor bike said, “Senior officials allowed us to keep aside stretchers from the motorbike if they find difficult to drive with them.”

He added that petrol was also a concern with Morni since the nearest one is in Panchkula or Raipur Rani, which is at least 25-30 km away.

The bikes have been arranged under a Red Cross project and private companies sponsoring its cost, said officials.

Concerns understandable, but bikes are safe: DC

DC Gauri Prashar Joshi said, “As far as safety is concerned, manufactures have assured us that it will not go off balance. It has been tested after attaching it with stretchers.” She said so far these vehicles have been used largely to assist ground health workers in vaccination programme and also to disseminate government-run schemes.

“As far as using it for referral purposes and put them to ferry critical patients, we will see its acceptability in gradual manner,” she said All five clusters of the Morni block have been given one of these vehicles each.

First Published: Jun 05, 2017 11:05 IST