S. Harpal Singh

Crowds cheered him when he emitted ‘kui-kui’ sound of the ambulance at public meetings

ADILABAD: It was certainly not for the love of mimicry that Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy imitated the siren of the 108 ambulances in his public addresses. The crowds cheered their Chief Minister when he emitted the ‘kui-kui, kui-kui’ because he endeavoured to underscore the importance of this unique service in the rural and backward areas like Adilabad district.

Rajasekhara Reddy had perceived the need for the government to run a service like the 108 ambulance and its likely impact in rural the areas in the early days of the launch of Emergency Medical Research Institute by Satyam software company. The efficacy of the service under the government became quite evident from the initial phase itself and it was no wonder that other State governments too incorporated the idea.

Rajasekhara Reddy was so convinced of the political potential of the 108 ambulance that he was reported to have admitted that this service was one of the major reasons for him to be returned to power for the second successive time. After the fall of the Satyam empire, he was understood to have become more determined to run it notwithstanding the cost.

The launch

The EMRI was launched in the State on August 15, 2005, with 17 ambulances. The service was started in Adilabad on July 18, 2006, with just two ambulances. At present, there are 30 ambulances that provide emergency medical service in some of the most remote parts in the district. There is demand for more such ambulances in some of the areas that are not yet covered by the service.

The 108 ambulance service, now run with State government contribution, was re-launched on April 14, 2007, across the district. At present, it is being run with 100 per cent government contribution.

Life-saver

“We now do 700 to 800 cases of deliveries,” points out Jayant Kumar Thakur, the EMRI Adilabad district manager, talking about the service offered by the 108 ambulance in this hilly district. “Thanks to the 108 ambulance, the death rate during pregnancy has come down in the district. This ambulance is also a life-saver when epidemics break out in the tribal areas,” he adds.