'Ban on use of Omni will cause shortage of ambulances'

'Ban on use of Omni will cause shortage of ambulances'

Vehicle owners oppose move against using Omni as ambulance

The Tulunada Rakshana Vedike ambulance owners’ and drivers’ unit has decried the move of the Transport Department to not issue fitness certificates for Maruti Omni vans used as ambulance.

Keeping in mind the safety and space issues, the Department has also decided not to register new Maruti Omni vans as ambulances.

Briefing media persons on Tuesday, Vedike founder president Yogish Shetty Jeppu said that although the order has come into effect on May 10, it came to light only when the vehicle owners went to the regional transport offices (RTO) to get fitness certificates (FC), and the RTOs refused to renew the fitness certificates of the vehicles citing the order. The notification was issued based on a request from the Health Department following a specification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Stating that high-tech ambulances are expensive, Shetty said that the high-tech ambulances cannot provide service to people in hilly areas. “Poor patients have been depending on the Omni ambulances to reach the hospital or return home after treatment. There are over 180 Omni ambulances in Mangaluru and Puttur. If the direction of the Transport Department is implemented effectively, then there will be shortage of ambulances in the district.

Moreover, the owners have purchased the Omni ambulances by availing 70% of the loans from the banks. What will happen to them?” he asked.

Gangadhar, owner of Ganesh ambulance which has been operating for the last 25 years, said, “I was denied an FC when I took my vehicles to the RTO. Although the order was passed on May 10, we had no knowledge of it. Omni vehicles can negotiate heavy traffic and travel through narrow lanes. Further, they are more cost-effective compared to bigger vehicles. The government should stop registration of new vehicles and continue the old vehicles. In Dakshina Kannada, many hospitals too have Omni ambulances. Many philanthropic individuals/organisations donate Omni ambulances to NGOs. Such ambulances are used to provide free service to the poor.”

C S Radhika, owner of Cauvery Ambulance, said that a few poor patients who undergo dialysis demand for Omni van ambulance as it is cost effective. What will happen to such patients? she asked.
DH News Service

‘Registered Omni ambulances to get FC’
A circular issued by the Transport and Road Safety Commissioner on June 5 has clarified that the government has banned the registration of Maruti Omni vans as emergency response service ambulances in the state.
However, the Omni ambulances that have already been registered will be issued with fitness certificates, the commissioner assured.

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