108, 104 intact despite Satyam crisis
EMRI to look for alternative funding if the need arises
Chief Minister holds meeting with CEOs of EMRI, HMRI
EMRI to get back to State in 3 months on private funding
The Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), which runs the 108 ambulance services in partnership with respective governments in eight States, will look for alternative funding in case former Chairman of Satyam B. Ramalinga Raju and his family members prefer to withhold their five per cent contribution for operating the scheme. Mr. Raju, who is also the EMRI chairman, decided to quit that post in the wake of the scandal.
The aspect for alternative funding came up for discussion when Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy convened an emergency meeting on Thursday with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of EMRI and Health Management and Research Institute (HMRI), whose technology partner is Satyam. EMRI CEO Venkat Changavalli informed Dr. Reddy that he would try for private funding for the remaining five per cent and would get back to the government in three months.
Apart from Andhra Pradesh, EMRI is operating 108 ambulance services for emergency response in Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Karnataka and has deployed 1,523 vehicles in these States.
With 95:5 cost-sharing arrangement remaining in place between the government and EMRI, the budgetary support from Andhra Pradesh government would be around Rs. 100 to Rs. 120 crore for the next year, according to Mr. Changavalli. He said EMRI’s expansion plans would continue as planned. Around 5,000 ambulances would be plying by 2009-end and their number would reach 10,000 by 2010.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s Office stated that Dr. Reddy decided that the popular 108 and 104 services would continue without any hindrance.
About 5,000 emergency trips were being made daily by 652 ambulances in the State. Their number would increase to 6,000 by the month-end with the addition of 150 vehicles.
Fixed Day Health Services (FDHS) in rural areas were being provided by 78 mobile health vans in eight districts and their number would increase to 475 by January-end. A fresh MoU, based on the 95:5 cost sharing would be entered into between the State and HMRI.
Verghese K. Jacob, Chief Integrator, Byrraju Foundation, said the organisation was least affected by the Satyam developments as it was entirely funded by the family members of Mr. Ramalinga Raju. He said Mr. Raju had assured him on Wednesday that the support would continue.
Truckers’ stir: YSR talks tough
Asks officials to deal firmly with strike
Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy said that while the State government was ready to talk to the lorry owners and concede their genuine demands, it will not tolerate any unreasonable and unwanted strikes.
“People are more important to us. While we can understand genuine demands, there is no question of allowing normal life to be affected. The lorry owners cannot behave as they like. The government is very firm on this,” Dr. Reddy remarked while directing the transport, police and other officials to be firm in dealing with the strike.
The Chief Minister wanted the strict enforcement of ESMA already invoked against the strike. “How can they paralyse normal life in the guise of achieving some demands? This will not be allowed. However we are ready for any discussion and meet genuine demands,” he remarked.
He wanted the officials to make alternate arrangements if the strike affects the normal life. “If need be lorries should be seized and supply of essential commodities, petroleum products, foodgrains and vegetables should be ensured since this will affect the normal life,” he told the officials.
Finance Minister K Rosaiah, Chief Secretary P. Ramakanth Reddy, Principal Secretary, Transport, A.K.Parida, Commissioner, Transport, Raymond Peter, Commissioner, Civil Supplies, Sanjay Jaju, Commissioner, Agriculture, Poonam Malakondiah, Commissioners of Police, Hyderabad and Cyberabad, Prasada Rao and Prabhakar Reddy and other officials attended the meeting.