Mumbai: Govt Axes 108 Ambulance Contract, 102 To Take Over Emergency Services

Mumbai: Govt Axes 108 Ambulance Contract, 102 To Take Over Emergency Services

The development was sparked by an attention motion tabled in the Legislative Council on Monday by BJP MLC Pravin Datke, which sought details on the tenders floated for the supply of ambulances to the Public Health Department in the state.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Tuesday, July 02, 2024, 12:21 AM IST
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Mumbai: 108 Ambulance Service Contract Terminated, 102 Service To Replace | Facebook/MEMS108

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has cancelled the contract of its ambulance service, 108, due to the termination of the contract with BVG India Limited, the contractor. In a move aimed at ensuring uninterrupted emergency medical services, the state health ministry has decided to operationalize the 102 ambulance facility instead.

The development was sparked by an attention motion tabled in the Legislative Council on Monday by BJP MLC Pravin Datke, which sought details on the tenders floated for the supply of ambulances to the Public Health Department in the state.

"Even though the 108 service has been shut down, we will ensure that there is no harm to patients and we will operationalize the 102 ambulance facility instead," announced Health Minister Tanaji Sawant. The Health Department will now operate the service of 957 ambulances under the 108 number, following the cancellation of the contract. The department had previously extended the contract twice, but this has been revoked due to non-compliance with the basic notification that only one extension should be granted.

Health Minister Tanaji Sawant stated, "We have initiated a forensic audit to investigate the irregularities in the 108 ambulance service. Unfortunately, we have not received a response from BVG India Limited so far. In August 2023, we issued an ordinance for the procurement of ambulances and the operation of such services. However, it was later discovered that a company with no experience in providing ambulances and services was entrusted with the task of preparing a plan for this service. This lack of experience resulted in financial losses to patients and posed a risk to their health."

The government has initiated action against those involved in financial misappropriation in the procurement of ambulances and provision of services. Sawant assured that those responsible will be held accountable. The 108 emergency ambulance service was first initiated by former Health Minister Suresh Shetti in 2009.

"The cancellation of the contract has raised concerns about the effectiveness of our healthcare system, but I want to assure the people that we will not ignore any patient's needs even after this contract ends. We are keeping a close eye on the situation and will not entertain it if the contractor tries to come back using a different name or guise. Our priority is to ensure that our citizens receive quality healthcare services and we will take all necessary measures to ensure that", said the Health Minister.

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