Ambulance for Kupvi lying unused in Shimla

Subhash Rajta

Shimla, February 20

The ambulance, flagged off by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur two weeks back to a remote Community Health Centre (CHC) in Kupvi, is gathering dust at a parking lot in Shimla.

It appears the ambulance is unlikely to move towards its intended destination anytime soon as Punjab National Bank (PNB), which donated it under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, and the office of the Chief Medical Officer, Shimla, are yet to reach an agreement for the handover of the vehicle.

Not fit for terrain

It's not compatible for the roads in Kupvi. We already have a Mahindra Supro ambulance in Shimla and our experience has not been good with it. Surekha Chopra, CMO

Can't replace it

We can't replace the vehicle now. If the ambulance is not fit for Kupvi, the dept could deploy it elsewhere and send a more suitable vehicle to Kupvi. A PNB official

While the bank claims it is ready to hand over the ambulance with necessary documentation as and when the CMO office is ready to receive it, the latter has strong apprehensions about the suitability of the ambulance in the remote area for which it has been donated.

"It's not compatible for the roads in Kupvi. We already have a Mahindra Supro ambulance in Shimla and our experience has not been good with it," said CMO Surekha Chopra.

Besides, she said, this issue was brought to the notice of PNB officials in the presence of the Chief Minister during the flagging off ceremony. "At that time, the officials assured us that the ambulance will be replaced with the one more suitable for the area," said Chopra.

She further alleged that the bank was now asking them to receive the same ambulance. "And, on top of that, it's not even allowing us to write a note that we are receiving it subject to the condition that it will be replaced with a more suitable vehicle. How can we receive an ambulance that might leave a patient stranded somewhere?" she said.

A PNB official said the ambulance had already been bought and it's not easy to replace it. "If the ambulance, in their opinion, is not fit to run in Kupvi, the department could deploy it elsewhere in the district and send a more suitable vehicle to Kupvi," he said.

Meanwhile, Kupvi residents are bemused with the turn of events after the flag-off ceremony. "It's really sad to see how things are panning out. It's been a year or so since people from the area approached the bank for an ambulance. We are extremely disappointed," said Lokinder Chauhan, a Kupvi resident.

"The most suitable for us will be a 108 ambulance. That's what we have been demanding and the department should look to provide it," he said.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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