Special Correspondent

CUDDALORE: As the demand for the “108” ambulance service has gone up significantly, the number of vehicles will be increased from 385 to 445 soon. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has made a budgetary provision for adding 200 more ambulances to the fleet, said M.R.K. Panneerselvam, Health Minister.

He was speaking at a function held at Pudhuchathiram near here for the inauguration of a sub-registrar's office, on Wednesday. Mr. Panneerselvam said that after the advent of the “108” ambulance service, awareness of its utility had increased. So far, it had rendered service to over 3.21 lakh people, besides helping in 81,000 child births. For even minor ailments or accidents, people were calling the number.

The Minister further said that there was overwhelming response to the Kalaignar Health Insurance Scheme for Life-Saving Treatments. Mr. Panneerselvam said that under the Young Children Vision Programme, a total of 3,624 children had undergone surgery and over 1.58 lakh children given corrective glasses. He pointed out that to enable easy registration, the sub-registrar's office was established in Nallur, Orathur and Pudhuchathiram within a short period. It would benefit residents of 20 villages.

Collector P. Seetharaman said that hi-tech communication facility had made the “108” ambulance service quite instantaneous and popular.