BENGALURU: THE Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) budget is likely to be presented on February 23. This time, the focus will be on public health. Eight helipads will come up at various locations in the city to transport patients in critical condition in air ambulances. This will also help accident victims reach hospitals faster during the golden hour.
At present, the city has over 50 helipads, most of them on private properties. BBMP’s plan to develop its own helipads will be the first of its kind in India to be owned by an urban local body. Some private helicopter services ply between Electronics City and the international airport to cater to techies who often fly. Operators charge `3,000 to `3,500 for this 15-minute flight.
However, BBMP has planned the helipads for medical emergencies. Mayor Sampath Raj told The New Indian Express that they have already identified eight locations in each zone to develop helipads. “We’ll be developing the helipads and since they will be ours, we can fix a nominal charge. The air ambulances will be operated by private operators,’’ he added.
On the facility being expensive for poor patients, the mayor said they are in talks with insurance companies. “We are working on the feasibility of making it a cashless service. The first few minutes of accident or any ailment are important for the patient’s life. With heli-service, we can save some time during the precious golden hour,’’ he added.
The BBMP budget will be presented by JD(S) councillor Mahadev, who is chairman of the Standing Committee on Finance and Taxation..“We are keen to provide better health facilities to the public. Announcements regarding upgrading BBMP hospitals will also be made in the budget. We want our major hospitals to be on par with multi-speciality hospitals,’’ a senior Congress member said.BBMP is also planning to introduce health schemes for senior citizens and physically challenged persons.
‘Let BBMP give better roads first’
Opposition leader in the BBMP Council Padmanabha Reddy has criticised the civic body’s move of spending money on helipads. “The obligatory duty of BBMP is to give better basic amenities like roads, footpaths, streetlights. They should keep the city clean and develop parks and other basic facilities. Air ambulance service is run in Bengaluru by private operators. Why is BBMP spending money on helipads? In fact, this is the state government’s work. Let the BBMP first give better roads for ambulance movement,’’ he said.