Stranded drivers receive help from admn

DC arranges ambulance for patient

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Jan 13: After 11 days, the administration has reached to thousands of drivers who are stranded along Sangam-Qazigung stretch of Srinagar- Jammu National Highway as the road is expected to remain closed for the next ten days following the sudden collapse of the retaining wall of a bridge at Ramban.
The drivers had been calling for help from the district administration ever since it suspended the traffic on the 260-kilometers-long highway because of landslides and shooting stones caused by heavy snowfall from January 3 to 6.
The Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, K.K Sidha, told Excelsior that he visited the highway to look into the problems faced by the stranded drivers and assured them of all the support from the administration. He informed that they had distributed around 2000 kits of eatable items including Rice, Sugar, Mustard Oil, Spices, Pulses Tea, Milk Packets, and biscuit packets among stranded truck drivers at Zig, Lowe Munda, Vessu, and Alstop Mir Bazar.
He added that around 10- mobile toilets have been established at different places and they have kept the washrooms of government schools along the highway available for them. “Besides, the medical van will take care of healthcare needs. We have asked PHE department to ensure the availability of drinking water. We will provide kerosene free of cost,” he said.
The much-awaited visit had come when the drivers were running out of food and money. The drivers said that the facilities should continue until the traffic resumes. “We received nothing for last one week. no-one came here to help us. We hope that such drives are carried daily here,” Ghulam Rasool, a driver said.
Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, also arranged an ambulance for a patient who was allegedly denied the service after being discharged from the Government Medical College of the district.
Sidha said that he called the hospital for an ambulance after finding the patient traveling in a load carrier. “While monitoring the snow clearance work at Dak Bungalow, I found a load carrier, carrying a patient. They were shivering because of icy winds and I called the hospital and they sent an ambulance to the Dak Bungalow,” he said.
The hospital administration, however, said that there was no such provision of providing ambulance to the discharged patients. They said that it had discharged the patient from the hospital after successful surgery on January 6, and the subsequent 5 days of post-operative care.
“We provided him ambulance free of cost after receiving a call from the Deputy Commissioner. Had the patient approached us earlier we would have done the same considering the condition of roads and public transport post snowfall,” Principal GMC, Dr Showkat Jeelani said, maintaining that the ambulance is only meant for critical care.
At about midnight on Tuesday the Congress leader and chairperson of Anantnag Municipal Council, Hilal Ahmad Shah, took to the social networking site Facebook claiming that the GMC Aanatnag denied ambulance to the patient Sahil Gulzar, son of Gulzar Ahmad, a resident of the Kulgam district.
He even posted pictures of a load carrier, ambulance, and a discharge certificate of the patient. The post, as expected, went viral and the people on social media started demanding to shift GMC Principal, in their posts, for his alleged incompetence.