Railway official sets new standards of service

His name might not figure in the Republic Day honours list, but Dheeraj Kapoor, station superintended at Panipat railway station is a hero. Through personal efforts, he has set up a 24/7 ambulance service that has helped save the lives of scores of passengers over the last two years.

Kapoor started the service in December 2009 by raising an initial sum of Rs 3 lakh with the help of  local associations.

“The idea struck me after witnessing people dying in the Samjhauta Express blast at Atari in February 2007. Several lives would have been saved had immediate relief been provided to the injured. After I took charge at Panipat in 2008, I explored the options of providing the service. With the help of the local Rotary Club. I was fortunate to start it,” Kapoor told Deccan Herald.

The ambulance is pressed into service once the station gets a distress call from passengers onboard a train or in cases of accidents on the tracks in the region.

“Railway passengers who need medical aid are taken to the civil hospital in the city once they reach Panipat. In accident cases, once we receive an SOS, trains moving on the section are asked to lift the victims and bring them to the station,” Dheeraj explains.

 So far 324 passengers have made use of the ambulances service. The officials said 272 lives have been saved. Narrating one such incident, Kapoor said, “A lady was on the way to Howrah. She was in labour while approaching Panipat station and delivered her child on the train. The lady staff at the station tendered to the needs of the passenger and immediately shifted the mother and child to hospital,” he recalled.

Another ambulance would be added to the service this week. The outstanding work of the station superintended has been appreciated by both Railways and Haryana government.

While the Delhi Division of Northern Railway has begun funding the running ambulance service, the  Haryana government has awarded Kapoor for his initiative.

Kapoor said if some additional funds are provided by the Railways issues like hiring permanent drivers for the two ambulances would be sorted out. Currently, a driver is hired only when required.

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