BENGALURU: Three days after the Bengaluru city police commissioner ordered that all emergency vehicles should be given priority during VVIP movement, an ambulance was stuck in a traffic snarl created by policemen who were making way for the movement of home minister G Parameshwara near Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) headquarters on Queen’s Road in Central Bengaluru on Monday.
Parameshwara, who is also the KPCC chief, was leaving the party headquarters after attending a crucial meeting in the afternoon when the incident happened.
“I was taking a cardiac patient in a serious condition from Santosh Hospital in Bamboo Bazar to Mahaveer Jain Hospital on Miller’s Road around noon. From the hospital to the Congress party office, there was a huge traffic jam all along. Police just couldn’t clear the traffic for us. We were late by at least 10 minutes,” Vishwanath, driver of the private ambulance, said.
“Around 11.30am we got a patient with serious cardiac condition. We stabilized the patient and referred him to Mahaveer Jain Hospital, which had better facilities. He was shifted in our ambulance and our driver told us that he is stuck in traffic. It took them around 8-10 minutes to get out of the traffic,” said Dr Sharif, CMO, Santosh Hospital.
The incident happened notwithstanding the memo dated May 5, 2017 issued by police commissioner Praveen Sood to the traffic police, ordering that ambulances and emergency vehicles have to be given right of way even if there is a VVIP nearby.
“Instances of ambulances being detained in traffic due to VVIP movement have been reported in public domain. Whoever the VVIP might be, it generates a lot of adverse publicity for him/her and raises questions about our professionalism in traffic management,” said the memo.
The order was issued after chief minister Siddaramaiah faced criticism when his convoy blocked an ambulance near Ravindra Kalakshetra on May 2. As his convoy reached Town Hall, police stopped traffic on JC Road, and among the vehicles stuck was an ambulance.
The memo said there is no justification in ensuring smooth flow of traffic for VVIPs in total disregard to citizens’ convenience. “Whenever an ambulance or emergency vehicle is in question, it should be invariably given priority even at the cost of slowing down VVIP movement,” read the memo.
“Many a time, I have noticed officers close traffic much in advance and take their sweet time restoring it. This is not correct … instructions should be conveyed to all officers personally to ensure no emergency vehicle, especially ambulances with patients, are stopped for VVIP movement. Senior officers should walk the extra mile to ensure this,” Sood’s memo added.