Like many of the promises made by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and governments in general, the proposal of introducing 100 bike ambulances in Bengaluru has not taken off even after more than a year since it was announced.
In January 2018, Mujahid Pasha, the then Chairman of BBMP Standing Committee on Health, had said that the BBMP-run bike ambulances would be ready to hit the roads by end of the year.
The proposal meant that Rs 1 crore of capital expenditure would be done by the BBMP to procure 100 vehicles, from the previous year’s budget of Rs 3 crore allocated for procuring hearse vans. The corporators in the BBMP council had also spoken of buying a few scooters for encouraging women paramedics. Officials of the BBMP’s health department confirmed that there have been no steps taken to make the proposal a reality so far.
BBMP's Chief Health officer Dr Vijayendra told TNM, “The services have not started yet. I do not know what is the reason for the delay before my appointment. I have taken the role two months back, I am trying to pursue the matter.”
The number of bike ambulances in Bengaluru currently stands at 19. Those are run by the “108” service and the numbers have not increased since 2015.
In 2015, the state government’s health department, in a unique initiative, had launched 19 bike ambulances for the city to come to the rescue of accident victims. Non-profit organisation GVK-EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) which runs the operations of the 108 ambulance service in partnership with the state government, says that bike ambulances are very effective.
“Whenever there is an accident, these vehicles come in handy to provide first aid and if necessary to transport patients to hospitals. They can do the job much quicker. Except they can’t be deployed to handle complicated cases of pregnancy or cardiac arrest,” Mohammad Asif, Program Manager at GVK-EMRI had earlier told TNM.