May rope in private ambulances for emergencies during Covid-19 lockdown: Maharashtra govt to Bombay HC | Mumbai News


MUMBAI: State government on Friday told Bombay high court that it is considering requisition of private ambulances to meet health emergencies including Covid-19 cases during the lockdown.
Before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Amjad Sayed, via videoconference, the government responded to a public interest litigation by former MP Kirit Somaiya on the shortage of ambulances in the state and Mumbai during the lockdown which began on March 24, 2020 and is still “ongoing due to the drastic increase in the number of cases of people being exposed to Covid-19.” He urged for a direction to increase ambulances by compelling private ambulance service providers to forthwith start operating. His petition said Mumbai with over 25,000 cases has less than 300 ambulances on the roads.
Somaiya’s advocates Gaurav Mehta and Shivangi Agarwal submitted that ambulances are not to be seen on the roads. They also said there are over 3000 ambulances run by private operators in Mumbai.
Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, alongwith government pleader Poornima Kantharia, informed that statewide there are nearly 9000 registered private ambulances and the government is considering requisitioning them. The AG said various options will be explored including creating a dashboard where people can see the ambulances available. He sought to some time to return with further information to the court.
Senior advocate Anil Sakhare, for BMC, said if there is a need to requisition private ambulances for Mumbai it will keep the option open. The judges adjourned the matter to June 9.
Somaiya’s PIL said citizens are waiting upto a full day in various cases for an ambulance to reach them.”In a situation where people are sitting at their homes, scared due to the virus, people are losing their loved ones to other diseases such as heart attacks, organ failures, COVID-19 deaths and many more ailments due to a failure of not getting medical aid on time,” it added.

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