An innovative experiment by way of ‘River Ambulance’ was dedicated to the people on the Narmada banks in villages surrounding the Bargi Dam reservoir in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh on December 11. Located in deep jungles, the villages on the Narmada banks in the reservoir area have poor or no road connectivity, but are easily accessible from the river side. Scores of Vanvasis and other people living in these remote areas have been deprived of basic health care and other medical services because of lack of connectivity. Innumerable people have suffered major ailments and at times there has been loss of human life due to no access to health services.
Narmada Samagra has launched the river ambulance service with the help of the State Bank of India. It has a provision for a minor operation theater, oxygen and also a cold storage for life saving drugs. With a tricolour floating high, the ambulance is totally eco-friendly as it runs on solar energy.
It is equipped with medicines specially those for malaria, diarrhoea apart from such ailments that Vanvasis are vulnerable to. The minor operation theatre ensures that a patient gets emergency care as and when needed. The health services would literally reach the door-steps of people living in remote areas as the river ambulance can travel in six inches deep water too and hence can reach the very bank. It is equipped with a telephone connection that can be used as a helpline. In case of emergency, the raft can cruise up to the speed of 30kms per hour.
The need for reaching out to these areas was felt by members of Narmada Samagra led by Shri Anil Madhav Dave, when they undertook a rafting expedition along the length of Narmada in 2007. The urge to come up with a solution was further consolidated with a resolution to this effect announced during Nadi Mahotasava at Bandrabhan, Hosangabad in March 2010.
Shri Dave said it is a humble effort to ensure that people in the remote areas do not suffer due to lack of basic health care. A function was held at Kumbheshwar Ghat for dedicating the Ambulance to the people in presence of Chief General Manager of the State Bank of India Shri SK Mishra and Commissioner Jabalpur Shri Ravindra Pastor. General Manager of State Bank of India Shri V Madhusudan Rao was the guest of honour.
The river ambulance will cover three destinations per day from Monday to Saturday. Narayanganj will be the base camp and it will travel to 18 villages in its coverage area and effectively cover population of about 50-60 villages.