Kerala: 108 ambulances live long to serve

Deccan Chronicle.  | Rakesh Nair

Nation, In Other News

Vehicles built on chassis of goods carriers

Presently, only half a dozen of the 25 ambulances in the city are on the road as the mechanical department of health department has delayed their maintenance.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The serviceability of ‘108 ambulances’  has  been in doubt much before their launch as they were built on goods vehicles chassis rather on passenger vehicles chassis. In a month, the same ambulances will go for another round of fitness tests  after running past their  span of longevity. Presently,  only half a dozen of the 25 ambulances in Thiruvananthapuram are on the road as the mechanical department of Health Department has delayed their maintenance.

“All the vehicles have crossed three lakh kilometres which is the usual limit of longevity for a well-serviced vehicle of the same make. However, ‘108 ambulances’ are poorly serviced vehicles that had run too many kilometres under strenuous circumstances on our road. Since our rules don’t fix a ceiling of total kilometres that can be clocked, we may pass the fitness test. We were not happy to do so last time but always there is tremendous pressure on us to pass them in the fitness test,” said an MVD officials on condition of anonymity.

“Two ambulances had met with major accidents, one at Vellar and another  at Neyyatinkara.  The rest have innumerable issues and are presently in a workshop at Veli,” said a staffer. The ‘108 ambulances’  were introduced after a special government order since the vehicles were not fit to be ambulances.

“The vehicles were captured even after being given fitness certificates after widespread reports of wornout tyre and spares being fitted to vehicle after the fitness test,” sources said. Some of the staffers say  it was known that the permits of vehicles will expire by April- May  but no major step was  taken to ensure that they do not go out of road. Though 500 ambulances had to be purchased for the districts apart from Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha, a political spat had delayed their acquisition.