BENGALURU: Former Karnataka Health Minister UT Khader had promised to roll out Shradhanjali ambulance service to transport the deceased. The health department, in an attempt to bring it to its logical end, is close to rolling out these hearse vans.
“We are taking 30 old state ambulances that lacked pick-up and painting them black in colour and turning them into Shradhanjali hearse vans. All 30 districts in Karnataka will get one each. Previously, we had asked for two in each district but may be they will be diverted to the BBMP. For now, we have placed a demand for 30 vehicles in the budget. It will be stationed in 30 district hospitals across the state,” said Geetha Bali, Deputy director, State Health and Family Welfare Department.
Currently, the state has a total of 1,538 ambulances out of which 711 Arogya Kavacha 108 ambulances are operated by GVK EMRI, 200 drop-back vehicles called Nagu Magu are available for post-natal mothers and new borns, 198 Janani Suraksha Vahini to ensure free transport of pregnant women and sick infants, and 30 bike ambulances. “There are 447 other state ambulances, among which we are converting old vehicles into hearse vans,” she said.
A week ago we received a government order instructing us to tag these 30 hearse vans with GVK EMRI, as they are already running the 108 ambulances, they could be given the responsibility to run these hearse vans too. We don’t know where the budget will come from. On Tuesday, if the new Commissioner takes charge, it will be decided whether the money will come from National Health Mission’s budget or from the 108 ambulance service’s budget,” she added.
Health Commissioner PS Vastrad has been promoted, hence the post is vacant at the moment. Once the new commissioner takes charge, the decision is likely to reach its logical end.