New Delhi: In a country where people in rural areas still largely face an uphill task in getting medical attention, the existing infrastructure too can sometimes be misused. One such incident came to light in Chhattisgarh's Korba district where an emergency medical vehicle was found transporting cannabis worth lakhs instead of patients.
News agency ANI reported that local police seized an ambulance with 970 kilos of cannabis worth approximately Rs 40 lakh in Katghora - a small town some 380 kilometres from the state capital of Ranchi. The vehicle had apparently been transporting the banned items in broad daylight and local reports say that it often used emergency sirens to get a clear passage. Police officials managed to halt and seize the vehicle after receiving a tip-off.
What is more shocking is that there have been several reports in the recent past where people have either died or suffered from delayed treatment because ambulances were not available. In Uttar Pradesh for instance, a man had to carry the corpse of a relative on an open rickshaw after he was told there were no ambulances available. In another incident, a man was compelled to carry the body of his seven-month-old niece on his shoulders after the local district hospital refused to send an ambulance. Another man carried his wife on a stretcher after he was told there was no ambulance free for service.
Such incidents, unfortunately, have become increasingly common in many parts of the country. In such circumstances, the crime of an ambulance being used for transporting banned substances becomes even more grave.