Ambulance and Toll-free 102 Service Outsourced to Private Companies

Health Minister Mangal Pandey flagging off ambulances in Patna.

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Patna: Health Minister Mangal Pandey, at a function held at the State Health Society in Patna on Thursday, flagged off 65 brand new ambulances to be used with the 102 service.

After failing to control and manage the state-run ambulances, the Nitish administration has taken the step to outsource this area of the healthcare system in Bihar to private companies.

The toll-free 102 service in which one could summon an ambulance or a hearse has been given to the Pashupatinath Distributors Private Limited while the management of ambulances has been entrusted to the Samman Foundation of Patna.

It is not known how these two companies landed this government contract and whether a tender to this effect was floated by the government of Bihar.

Speaking on the occasion, Pandey said that the two companies would manage and operate 100 medium basic life support ambulances and 150 small basic life support ambulances. Eighty-one ambulances are already operational in 35 districts, he said adding the government plans to add nearly a thousand more ambulances across the state by the end of this year.

This is not the first time the Nitish administration has launched or flagged off shiny ambulances amidst much media hype though one could find plenty of examples in the state when a family member had to carry a sick person or a dead body in arms, a 'thela', or a wheel-barrow in the lack of ambulances in hospitals.

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