NRHM ambulance service repackaged as Samajwadi Sewa
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The emergency medical transport service ambulances — purchased by the Mayawati government under NRHM without planning, and lying in the stockyard of Tata Motors for about two years — were finally launched by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today.
The name of the service, "Samajwadi Swastha Sewa", drew criticism from opposition parties. A government scheme was being used for political promotion of the ruling party, they alleged.
The Congress called it an "unfortunate attempt'' to hijack the centrally funded scheme, while the BJP demanded that the government rename it immediately. The BSP said it was misuse of government funds for "publicity for the ruling party".
Akhilesh flagged off 133 EMTS ambulances - which can be reached through the toll-free number 108 —- at his residence. They will be equipped to handle primary care of emergency cases, and carry medicines and medical staff. A total of 988 ambulances were to be made available in the state under the National Rural Health Mission in 2010. The Mayawati government bought 799 ambulances, without planning for their operationalisation.
The chief minister said, "We are aiming to launch the targeted number of ambulances across all blocks of the state by year-end, but the wrongs of the previous government will take time to amend. They made things complicated but we are trying to do things in a way that no one can raise fingers at us."
He did not say why the service had been named after the ruling party. Nor did Health Minister Ahmad Hassan who, too, targeted the previous government for misuse of NRHM funds.
The health minister said, "It is a dream project of Mulayam Singh Yadav. No money will be charged for the service. We are targeting to reach the patient in 20 minutes. There have been corrupt practices in NRHM in the past but we are utilizing the funds with sincerity."
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