Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday flagged off 50 more ambulances in Shimla, which will join the existing fleet of 112 ambulances operating in the state. The new ambulances, associated with the '108' National Ambulance Service launched by the state government in December 2010, would be deployed across the state, Health Minister Kaul Singh said.

He said that preference to deploy the ambulances would be given to the villages located in the interiors of Chamba, Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Shimla and Kangra districts. To run the round-the-clock free ambulance services, the state has tied up with GVK-EMRI (Emergency Management Research Institute), a Hyderabad-based company, under a public-private partnership mode.

The project is jointly funded by the National Rural Health Mission and the state government. All the 162 ambulances are laced with life-saving equipments like automatic external defibrillator and drugs like anti-snake venom.

An ambulance takes about 25 minutes to reach a person in urban areas and 35 minutes in rural areas. Officials said that the National Ambulance Service, earlier known as '108' Atal Swasthya Sewa, has so far attended over 3,00,000 emergency calls, including around 2,25,000 medical emergencies. Of the total service provided, 88 percent is in rural areas.


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