Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the first rescue-cum-ambulance boat introduced by the Kerala State Water Transport Department (SWTD) at Panavally near Cherthala on Monday.After the launch, the CM said that the state government is committed to use the waterways for Kerala’s development.
“The state has 1,700-km-long waterways. To exploit the trade potential, a special purpose vehicle was formed for the waterways’ development. With the help of the Centre, the waterways will be developed and it will pave the way for the industrial development of central Kerala,” he said.Water Transport Minister A K Saseendran presided over the function. Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman, Aroor MLA A M Ariff, district panchayat president G Venugopal and SWTD director Shaji V Nair spoke.
The SWTD will roll out five water ambulances, of which three will be stationed at Alappuzha, Panavally and Muhamma. The other two boats will conduct services from Ernakulam and Kollam. The water ambulance service is available round the clock. Built at Aroor boatyard, each vessel can accommodate 20 passengers, besides the crew, and has a top speed of 12 knots compared to the normal boat speed of six knots.
The boats are fitted with all basic equipment for rescue missions along with medical facilities. All facilities seen in a modern ambulance are available in the boats.The crew can handle emergency medical situations and launch rescue missions.They have been trained in rescue swimming, deep water search and rescue, emergency oxygen administration and first aid, among other things.The water ambulance service will soon be made available in other places in the state, SWTD officials said.