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Puducherry’s free ambulance service saves several lives

N. Manikandan with the two ambulances which he runs free for patients and accident victims (Pic. Courtesy thebetterindia.com)

For the residents of Puducherry’s Villianur and areas adjacent to it, N. Manikandan and the ambulance service he runs is a boon. This service which is free is offered by Kalam Trust Ambulances was started by him eight years ago has saved innumerable lives of men, women and children.

The 38-year-old Manikandan who is diploma graduate in electronics and communications from Ramanathapuram started the ambulance service when he lost his younger brother due to a road accident nine years ago. Recalling the incident, he said that because of lack of an ambulance, his brother had to be taken to the hospital in a two-wheeler where he succumbed to injuries after remaining in coma for two days.

Releasing the huge challenge people faced in transporting patients and accident victims in the interior regions of Puducherry, Manikandan used the income he made from his second-hand vehicle sale business and a bank loan to purchase the first ambulance in April 2016. This was driven by his father and after his death, he started driving it. He has hired one more driver and now has two ambulances, one at Pattukannu junction and the other at Villianur pass road.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, the ambulance service played a vital role in taking patients to hospitals. During that period he took six pregnant women for delivery to the hospital and brought them back to their respective residences.

Manikandan takes special care of keeping the valuables and money of accident victims safe while moving them for treatment. Recently, he found nine lakh rupees with an accident victim, which he handed over to the family.

Apart from the general public, police also use ambulances especially during emergencies. He also receives calls from primary health centres, schools and community leaders for using the ambulances.

Till now, more than 2,600 patients have used the ambulance service and for his yeomen services he was recently honoured by the World Humanitarian Foundation at the Global Inspiration Awards held in the House of Commons of the British Parliament.