Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Friday launched the Samajwadi Swasthya Seva, the biggest emergency medical transport service in the country.
Yadav flagged-off 133 ambulances under the ambitious service launched in 13 districts - Mainpuri, Etawah, Lucknow, Kannauj, Saharanpur, Meerut, Rampur, Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal, Shamli, Baghpat and Ambedkarnagar - in the first phase.
The facility can be availed free of cost by dialling 108.
The ambulance service was launched with the help of a private service provider. The government aims to reach people in need within 20 minutes of the SOS call.
A call centre that will be manned by 100 people has been set up here to support the emergency service. It will be functional 24x7, principal secretary (health) Sanjay Agarwal told IANS.
Addressing the gathering after the inauguration of the service, Chief Minister Yadav lauded the health department for fast-tracking healthcare in a very short period. He assured the people, party workers and activists present on the occasion that the government would fulfill all the promises it made in the election manifesto.
Chief Secretary Jawwed Usmani said the 108 service would be expanded by October this year, and 972 ambulances would be made available in the 820 development blocks of the state.
The chief minister also laid the foundation stone of one of the 22 community health centres (CHCs) and eight primary health centres (PHCs) to be built in 18 districts at a cost of Rs.67.43 crore.