Nitin Gadkari
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari addressing at the inauguration of the 203rd meeting of the Indian Road Congress, in New Delhi on August 19, 2014. ( A file photo)PIB

To provide instant medical care to road accident victims free of cost on national highways, the Union government on Thursday launched two pilot projects.

The government is already implementing a pilot project of treatment to accident vicitims on the Gurgaon-Jaipur stretch.

The two new pilot medical projects launched on Thursday are for the Vadodara-Mumbai stretch of NH-8 and the Ranchi-Rargaon-Mahulia (Jamshedpur) stretch of NH-33.

The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the two pilot projects, to provide cashless treatment to road accident victims.

The two MoUs were signed in the presence of Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday morning.

The two projects have been launched for the collection of data for rolling out a PAN-India plan for cashless treatment of road accident victims to reduce fatalities in road accidents, by providing appropriate medical care to the victims during the "Golden Hour".

Gadkari will launch the project nationwide, after the successful completion of the trial run of the pilot projects. The projects envisage a toll free number 1033 and a 24x7 call centre to receive accident reports on these identified stretches of national highways.

There will be a provision for deploying GPS-fitted ambulances at every 25 km to shift the accident victims to the nearest hospital in the shortest possible time. In case of admission to a private empanelled hospital, cashless treatment for the first 48 hours within a limit of Rs 30,000 will be provided, the ministry stated.

The two MoUs was with IFFCO Tokyo General Insurance Company Ltd for the Vadodara-Mumbai stretch of NH-8, and with ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Ltd for the Ranchi-Rargaon-Mahulia (Jamshedpur) stretch of NH-33.

The ministry has also requested the Department of Heavy Industry (DHI) to fund scientific investigation of vehicle or accident/crashes on these two stretches of highways.

DHI is already conducting such investigations on the Gurgaon-Jaipur stretch. Results from these investigations are to provide inputs for improvements in vehicle design and regulations, road geometry to minimise damages in such accidents in future.

The ministry is already implementing a similar project on the Gugaon-Jaipur stretch of NH-8, through ICICI Lombard since July last year. Under that project, a total number of 3,011 accident victims have been attended till 31 July, 2014, the government stated.

In the Gurgaon-Jaipur project, the average response time of 20 minutes was targeted for the ambulance to reach the accident site, and 20 minutes for the accident victim to be shifted from the accident scene to the nearest hospital.

After the necessary fine tuning, it has been possible to achieve an average response of 8 minutes for ambulance to reach the accident scene and an average 15 minutes for shifting of the accident victim to the nearest hospital, the government pointed out.