Tamil Nadu

Use of military air ambulancetriggers controversy

On Tuesday, when it became public that Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam had wanted to meet Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to thank her for arranging a military air ambulance to bring his brother from Madurai to Chennai, it triggered a controversy, with critics questioning whether such a facility would be provided to the common man. The air ambulance was provided about 10 days ago.

Defence Ministry sources said that military aircraft are pressed into service only in case of a natural disaster. However, they added that in cases where the Station Commander of the military unit is convinced, military assets could be utilised to help someone on “humanitarian” grounds.

Critical ailment

Doctors at the Apollo Hospitals in Madurai, where Mr. Panneerselvam’s brother had initially been treated for a critical ailment, told The Hindu that the family members of the Deputy Chief Minister had initially inquired about the possibility of air-lifting the patient to Chennai using an air ambulance.

As two private air ambulances expressed their inability to come to the Madurai airport immediately, an air ambulance from Bengaluru, belonging to the Defence Ministry, was pressed into service. Within an hour, the patient was airlifted to Chennai.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 2:43:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/use-of-military-air-ambulancetriggers-controversy/article24507004.ece

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