DHANGADHI: The Ministry of Social Development of Sudurpaschim Province was found to have procured ambulances that were converted from outdated mini trucks. It has been revealed that the ambulances — purchased for distribution in nine districts of the province — were converted from mini trucks of a 2014 model (407/031-4 2121) produced by Tata Motors. The company has already stopped the production and distribution of this model of vehicles.

Ambulances procured by the Ministry of Social Development of Sudurpaschim Province for distribution in nine districts are seen in this undated picture. Photo Courtesy: Sudurpaschim Ministry of Social Development
Ambulances procured by the Ministry of Social Development of Sudurpaschim Province for distribution in nine districts are seen in this undated picture. Photo Courtesy: Sudurpaschim Ministry of Social Development
  The trucks are said to cost around Rs 1,885,000 including the custom duty. However, when ambulances are imported, there is a waiver of custom duty, further bringing down the cost. According to the information officer at the Ministry, Hem Raj Khadka, the Ministry had bought 16 converted trucks at the rate of Rs 3,907,000 per vehicle, amounting to a total of Rs 63,520,000 (including the taxes). However, the price of the trucks before conversion into ambulances cost only around Rs 800,000, which would amount to a total of Rs 12,800,000 for 16 trucks. According to sources, the purchased trucks are of a failed model which consumes a lot of fuel, lacks good speed and does not have a good braking system. The distributed ambulances have been stored in multiple locations as they are not suitable in the hilly terrain, lamented a municipality mayor who received the ambulance.
Where have the ambulances been distributed?
Darchula Naugaad, Duhu Rural Municipality Health Post
Bajhang Rayal Primary Health Centre, Kedarsyu and Matela Health Post, Chhabis Pathibhera
Kailali Seti Regional Hospital
Kanchanpur Mahakali Zonal Hospital
Doti District Hospital
Achham Balba Health Post, Achham District Hospital, Kamal Bazaar Primary Health Centre, and Bannagadhi Health Post
Bajura Tate Health Post
Baitadi Sakulau Health Post and Rudeshwor Health Post
Dadeldhura Nawadurga Health Post and Jogbudha Hospital in Parshuram Municipality
(Translated by Sandeep Sen, Edited by Priyanka Adhikari)