BENGALURU: If the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) decides to work to its set deadlines, the city after July will have a helipad in each of the eight BBMP zones to facilitate air ambulances in the form of helicopters flying the critically ill or severely injured accident victims to well-equipped hospitals, cutting valuable time to access emergency treatment. The construction of helipads in every BBMP zone to cater for air ambulances and for VIP movement could be finished in just four months, Mayor Sampath Raj said.
BBMP had announced the construction of the helipads during the civic budget on February 28. As per reports, the city currently has over 50 helipads, but most of them are on private land and do not cater to the public.The civic body’s initiative will be the first-of-its-kind wherein an urban local body will own its own helipads. BBMP has identified land in every zone and will soon call out tenders for the project. Customers will be charged a nominal amount, which will go to the private firm building the helipads and running the air ambulance service.
The Mayor confirmed that barring provision of the land and construction of the compounds, the civic body will not spend anything else from its pocket. The BBMP is also considering tying up with insurance firms to subsidise the service for those belonging to the economically weaker sections. The civic body is mulling including the helicopter flight charges too in the insured amount, However, there is nothing concrete yet on that front.
In addition, the BBMP will not need any clearances from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as the helipads will be constructed near the ground level itself. Speaking to TNIE, Raj said he had met Director General of Civil Aviation B S Bhullar at New Delhi to discuss the project. Bhullar informed Raj that if the helipads are built near the ground level, they do not require clearance from the DGCA.
London’s charitable air ambulance
London has a registered charitable organisation — Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) — that operates air ambulances during the day and a rapid response vehicles during the night. It has been in operation since 1989. A senior doctor and a paramedic are on board the helicopter at all times and the service managed to significantly reduce death rates after its launch.