Ambulances to be deployed at every 50 km of National Highways
New Delhi, July 3 (UNI) Barely a week after Prime Minsiter Manmohan Singh expressed his displeasure over the spiralling accidents on highways, the government today decided that ambulances, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, would be deployed at every 50 km stretch of the National Highways.
As part of developing an integrated trauma care system, a national toll-free telephone no.108 would also be put in place on which information on accidents can be passed on immediately by co-passengers and passersby.
In addition, the Department of Economic Affairs of the Union Finance Ministry and the Road Transport and Highways Ministry would jointly devise an insurance-funded system of payment for the treatment of hit and run victims.
This was decided at a high-powered official meeting, chaired by Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister T.R. Baalu here.
The meeting was attended by senior officials of Department of Road Transport and Highways, the NHAI, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry, Department of Economic Affairs (Insurance Division) and the Ministry of Telecommunication.
The job of deploying ambulances at every 50 km of completed stretch of National Highways has been entrusted to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The meeting was held to draw up a roadmap to develop an integrated and comprehensive system of trauma care by the Department of Road Transport and Highways and the Health and Family Welfare Ministry.
The Health and Family Welfare Ministry will identify district and government hospitals located near the National Highways for a time-bound upgradation of trauma care facilities.
The ministry will also standardise the configuration of ambulances with state-of-the-art equipment and draw up qualification parameters for the staff to be deployed on these ambulances to ensure vital medical aid to the accident victims prior to their hospitalisation.
''The objective to develop an integrated and comprehensive system of trauma care is to immediately respond to emergency calls for assistance for transportation and treatment of victims of road accidents to save their lives,'' ministry officials said.
The other decisions taken at the meeting included gradual extension of deployment of ambulances on National Highways under construction, provision of ambulances to states, NGOs and hospitals by Department of Road Transport and Highways for non-NHAI national highways and follow-up action by all the ministries concerned to complete the implementation of the plan during the Eleventh Five-Year Plan.
The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has also decided to hold a meeting of the National Road Saftey Council meeting at Shimla next month.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was in Bangalore last week, said one lakh people die in road accidents every year, and called for making road safety awareness, both in urban areas and on National Highways, a major national campaign.
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