MoRTH plans expansion of 1033 helpline to all highways
The plan is to deploy patrolling cars and cranes equipped with gas cutters, hydraulic rescue tools such as hydraulic towing arm and road clearing equipment staffed with trained manpower.
NEW DELHI: For timely medical assistance to road accident victims, the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) has proposed expansion of its nationwide helpline number 1033 to all national highways. At present service is available at tolled roads. The idea is that ambulances, cranes and rescue or patrolling vehicles should reach the mishap site within 30 minutes.
The plan is to deploy patrolling cars and cranes equipped with gas cutters, hydraulic rescue tools such as hydraulic towing arm and road clearing equipment staffed with trained manpower. The ministry also wants the specifications for the ambulances, rescue cranes and surveillance vehicles to be standardised to remove ambiguity and ensure uniformity in their function.
In a note circulated among senior officials, Indian Academy of Highway Engineers (IAHE) and Indian Roads Congress (IRC) seeking their suggestions on the proposals, the ministry stated that this is to be done on priority by establishing monitoring units staffed by skilled manpower.
According to the note, the facility may initially be extended to all the national highways with emphasis on high traffic corridors and the states with difficult terrains.
The response time of maximum 30 minutes for the ambulances and cranes to reach the site may be kept initially, which may further be reduced by integration of 1033 helpline with state helplines—108 and 112, said officials.
“The ambulances alone are grossly ineffective in initiating a post-crash response as the victims are more than often trapped inside the crashed vehicle and need to be extricated with professional powered tools to ensure prompt emergency care…The patrol cars, CRVs (rescue vehicles) and ambulances should operate in sync as a crash rescue unit and their operations should be integrated. The national highway accident relief network should be closely linked to the EMS (emergency medical service) network,” read the note.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has launched the toll free 1033 helpline number to provide round the clock assistance to road users on tolled stretches in 2018. The helpline provides multilingual support service to road users and integrated with the other highway operations facilities such as toll plaza ambulance, patrol vehicle and crane as it is required.