Ambulances remain off the roads for 15 days in outer Delhi

Drivers run out of money to refill petrol in vehicles

Most of the new ambulances run by the city government in outer Delhi have not been working for almost a fortnight. With no petrol to run them, drivers are lying idle in stationary ambulances.

The government recently bought 70 ambulances under the Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS) and launched them with much fanfare on August 6.
Nearly 250 drivers were also appointed to make the services available round the clock.
However, 15 ambulances in outer Delhi have not moved an inch for over 15 days as the drivers were unable to fill petrol.

The government had provided ‘petro cards’ for buying fuel, and drivers have to swipe the cards to fill petrol in their vehicles.

The money was enough for the initial 20 days, but with no more funds being put into the accounts since then, ambulance services in outer Delhi have been in a limbo for the last three weeks.

Launched under the National Rural Health Mission, the new contingent of ambulances was expected to help critical patients from outer Delhi avail specialised services from central and south Delhi.

Out of service

For the last three weeks ambulances meant for Narela, Bawana, Jahangir Puri, Indralok and neighbouring areas have not been running. Forty people from these parts were denied CATS ambulance service in the last two weeks.

State health secretary Anshu Prakash said the driver has to swipe the card to buy petrol, and the lack of funds in accounts will be sorted out soon. The functioning of the ambulances has been infamous for a long time.

Earlier, an RTI application had revealed that an ambulance took only 17 rounds in a month, though it covered 2,600 km during the same time.

In another case, one ambulance had four drivers, though not even one was available when a patient asked for emergency help.

The government had bought 35 CATS ambulances during the Commonwealth Games. Recently, 70 more were added to the contingent to strengthen emergency services.
In 2007, the government had promised the Delhi High Court to make comprehensive ambulance services available for the common people.

It told the court said by 2008 CATS will have 450 ambulances. Yet, even half of that number has not been reached till today.

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