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Innovative Palanquin Ambulances launched in North Bengal

22 February, 2022 17:01:40
Innovative Palanquin Ambulances launched in North Bengal

To help villagers living in the remote hills get access to immediate medical help, the West Bengal Government with help of NGOs, have set up innovative Palanquin Ambulance Service. Such a service started recently in the Buxa hills of North Bengal. The palanquin ambulance service is helping patients and bringing them down from a height of 2,600 feet to the plains for treatment in state run hospitals.

As these hilly tracts are not motorable, transportation for patients is a big problem, specially to super specialty hospitals that are in abundance in the plains. Now with the hills of Alipurduar starting this service, it will be easier for villagers to access modern medical treatment. The palanquins will have saline drips and other basic medical equipment just like ambulances have. The state government is funding the whole project. The local administration and NGO will look into the operations. Tushar Chakraborty of NGO Family Planning India (Kalchini Branch) who are helping the government in setting up these special ambulances, said, “We have started with one and are planning to launch six such ambulances soon. This will be of great help for the villagers who live in the remote hills and struggle for medical help. Many have started to avail the facility and they are very happy with this innovative ambulance.”


Local residents are thanking the state government for this service. “We always wanted something like this to help us out in case of medical emergencies,” said Praveen Dukpa. A pregnant woman of the Dukpa community was brought down for delivery from Buxa hilltop in one such palanquin ambulance. There are 11 villages on Buxa hilltop, with around 5,000 residents. The administration wants the number of palanquin ambulances to go up to 11.

Palanquins were once upon a time used by the zamindars of Bengal to travel through forested tracks and their women to go for a bath in the river, not being seen by public. In modern times, they are such figments of history, often used in lavish weddings recreating the bygone era. But palanquins being used as ambulances is indeed an innovative idea and is helping to a large extent the villagers of remote North Bengal. 

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