PM praises Nilgiris café owner for donating auto ambulances

A café owner in Coonoor in The Nilgiris has earned the praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for rolling out ‘autorickshaw ambulances – AmbuRx’ to enhance mobility of patients in the hill district.
PM praises Nilgiris café owner for donating auto ambulances
Radhikka Shastry with one of the donated auto ambulances


Radhikka Shastry, who runs a café, pooled in money through crowd funding to customise six load vehicles into ambulances with facilities, including stretchers, oxygen cylinders, fire extinguishers and fans. The ambulances help in reaching out to even interior tribal hamlets, which weren’t so far inaccessible by larger ambulances. 
The Prime Minister made a mention of her service in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on Sunday. “I never, even in my wildest dream, did I think of receiving an appreciation from the Prime Minister. My phone has been ringing continuously since morning with calls of appreciation. I am very excited,” she said. 
Inspired by a similar project shared on social media by a person in Jabalpur, Radhikka thought of emulating it in The Nilgiris. 
“People couldn’t go to hospitals during COVID-19 pandemic as most of the regular ambulances were busy. It turned out to be an issue for the poor suffering from other ailments as public transport too was non-operational. This is when the idea originated for me to come out with a model for transporting people from tribal areas to hospitals,” she said. 
The cost of Rs 25 lakh incurred to remodel the six vehicles into ambulances and their expense for transportation from Jabalpur was crowd funded by her clients visiting the café shop. 
“One AmbuRx was donated by me. In the first week of July, all the six ambulances were donated to hospitals and NGO’s to be put into use. I came to know that one ambulance has transported more than 60 patients, including those from tribal areas over the last couple of weeks,” she said. 
Radhikka says that if there is further demand, then efforts would be taken to develop more such ambulances. “I think this is a successful model that can be replicated at the national level even in smaller towns and hill regions,” she added.

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