Amidst the present coronavirus crisis, the Maharashtra Government has approved Rs 89.48 crore for the purchase of 500 new ambulances in the state. Of which 253 will be provided for primary health centres, 137 to rural hospitals, 106 to district and sub-district hospitals and four to metal hospitals. This is the fulfilment of the budgetary promise given by the Finance Minister Ajit Pawar in the state budget for 2020-21.
Minister of Public Health Rajesh Tope said in all 1,000 old ambulances will be replaced of which 500 in the current fiscal and another 500 in next year. The 500 new ambulances will be available in a month. He referred to the Finance Minister Ajit Pawar, who is state's deputy chief minister, budget speech in which he had proposed to make an allocation for the procurement of the new ambulances to retire the old ones.
‘’Administrative approval has recently been given for an estimated cost of Rs 89.48 crore for 500 new ambulances this year,’’ said Tope.
Tope admitted that the present state of ambulances, especially in the rural areas is being criticised. Therefore, the minister said the government has taken a cautious decision to replace those obsolete ambulances with new ones as a part of its plan to strengthen the health infrastructure in the rural areas. "This will help provide timely assistance to the patients in need. The government also aims to improve health care facilities in rural and remote areas,’’ he noted.