Mumbai: Five months after the launch of a roll on-roll off-cum-passenger ferry service, also called ‘Ropax’, between Mumbai and Mandwa near Alibaug, the Maharashtra Government has given administrative approval for conducting a tender process for the operation of boat ambulance-cum-mobile-medical unit on an experimental basis on the sea route from Mandwa to Gateway of India.
The government will select an agency which will procure the vessel, equipment, medicines, employees and incur expenses on fuel. The government will provide operational expenses to the agency. The project is being implemented initially for a period of one year.
This is the first time such a venture is being explored by the state government which has released a notification on August 7.
The Raigad district guardian minister and minister of state for industries Aditi Tatkare told Free Press Journal, ‘’The boat-ambulance-cum-mobile-medical-unit is being proposed basically to provide much-needed relief to the patients from Raigad and Ratnagiri districts who want an urgent medical treatment in hospitals situated in Mumbai. The speed boat, which can accommodate an ambulance, will be deployed. This can save those crucial two-three hours, the Golden Hours- which otherwise patients had to travel on road crossing Alibaug. Had Covid pandemic not there, the service would have started by December-end but it will need some more time.’’ She informed that the approval from the state Public Health Department will be sought exempting 108, a unique emergency medical ambulance to travel beyond the district limits in the speed boat.
Further, Tatkare said the permission from the Public Health Department will also be sought for the appointment of doctors, nurses, ventilator operators and other staff. ‘’The agency will operate the board ambulance and the state government will provide operational expenses for the same,’’ she noted.
According to the minister, the funds for paying operational expenses to the agency will be mobilised through the finance department and also from the District Planning and Development Council.
As per the government notification, the National Health Mission Director placed in Mumbai will supervise the operations of the boat ambulance.