Ranchi, March 5: If it were the bad road conditions of the state that had kept the two 20-ft long ambulances at bay earlier, now it is their dilapidated condition.
Imported from England, the two ambulances — equipped with basic infrastructure like an operation table and surgery equipment — are lying defunct at the state’s apex medical institute Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS).
However, two years ago, officials of RIMS had tried to navigate into the rural pockets of the state but their efforts proved futile as the vehicles were completely damaged.
The six tyres of both the ambulances were also worn out and have not been replaced till date due to the cost involved. Sources said that both the ambulances had cost the state a few crores.
Shamim Haider, a professor at RIMS, rued that it was not practically feasible to run the ambulances in the state.
“Initially, we toured Gumla, Lohardaga and Khunti but could not reach the remote areas because of its size and the road conditions,” Haider added.
Besides, now it has become difficult to procure the required spare parts.
“Even its oil consumption is quite high and the government is unable to bear its cost. In the then undivided Bihar, chief minister Lalu Prasad had even tried to make it run and had demonstrated it at Delhi on August 15,” Haider said.
Moreover, the medical professor felt that these vehicles were not needed in the rural pockets anymore.
Medical facilities are available in the villages through the primary health centres (PHCs). Medical staff are also manning the centres for the villagers. “Earlier, the ambulance was the only mode of providing medical facilities in villages and so every one felt that the two imported ambulances would cater to the people’s medical need,” said Haider.
One of the drivers, Vivekanand Sarkar, who at present is working in the microbiology department of RIMS said he had driven the ambulance to the Khunti subdivision a few years ago.
“It was really difficult to ply in rural areas. The roads are not suitable for driving such a huge vehicle,” added Sarkar.
Sarkar said that the diesel consumption was also quite high. “The ambulance would only travel 5-6km per litre. The mileage was not suitable and hence bearing the diesel cost of the two ambulances became quite high for us,” he added.
While another medical staff rued that even the government did not give any fund for its repairs.
“Now we have small ambulances which are being used to for the purpose in the city as well as in the remote villages in case of emergencies,” he added