Similarly, a caller, identifying herself as Nirupama Sabar of Nandapur had called the emergency ambulance service, but the call too was found to be a hoax. The ambulance covered 66 km to attend the call on May 16.
These are not isolated cases. Hundreds of such fake calls are made by pranksters since the service was launched in Koraput district of Odisha on March 9.
"Fake calls are very disturbing as they lead to wastage of time and resources. People should refrain from misusing the emergency service," chief district medical officer (CDMO), Koraput, Niranjan Das, said. According to official reports, of the 2,588 phone calls made for emergency ambulance service between March 10 and June 30, as many as 281 were fake ones.
"In case of fake cases, our return calls always go unanswered. As there is no punishment for making fake calls, people make them with impunity. However, we have to attend each and every call without checking their genuineness," said district project manager, National Rural Health Mission (Koraput), Biswambar Behera.
In several cases it is also found that people in remote areas use the ambulance as mode of transportation. "People pretending to be patients make calls and escape from the ambulance after reaching the hospital. They use it as a public transport system", said Behera.
The emergency ambulance service is available round-the-clock. Koraput has 11 ambulances equipped with sophisticated healthcare equipment. The vehicles are monitored through global positioning system (GPS).