Guwahati, Oct 17 (IANS) The Assam government Wednesday launched a one-point integrated helpline number (108) for all kinds of emergency response.
This is also the first such one-point crisis response helpline ever launched in the country and this integrated helpline number will encompass police, fire and all other disaster-related emergency incidents.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi launched the emergency number at a function at the state secretariat conference hall and said that 108 emergency services have already created an impact on Assam's health services, especially in dealing with accident-related cases and timely care for pregnant women.
"The 108 ambulance service has become very popular in the state and as such, its network has been further widened by encompassing other services like police, fire and disaster-related incidents," he said.
"The launching of the integrated emergency helpline would provide much-needed impetus to people living in far-flung and interior areas, including hilly areas. The integrated service will go a long way in providing timely relief to affected people at the time of exigencies," Gogoi pointed out.
He said the integrated service would help the common man to derive prompt services in health care, police, fire and other emergency services.
Assam's Minister for Health & Family Welfare Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was present on the occasion, said the 108 service under the aegis of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has been rendering yeoman services and the integrated service would further tone up health and other emergency services in the coming days.
"The launching of the integrated services will help the poorest of the poor in getting access to health and disaster-related emergency services," Sarma said.
The minister added that 100 small ambulances have been pressed into service for the hill areas under the 108 service. For referral cases, another fleet of ambulances will be placed shortly, he added.
The health department has been designated as a nodal department for implementing the integrated emergency helpline as it has been already partnering GVK-EMRI 108 helpline service.
A total of 655 police and fire stations have been connected with the 108 call centre to render fast services to the people, officials said, adding that a total of 4,355 emergency response personnel of the fire brigade and police have been trained for this purpose.