Ambulances reviled by Sri Lanka opposition help indisposed protestors: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – An emergency paramedic service started with Indian funding has taken protestors who needed hospital care, a minister who was targeted by the opposition for helping initiate the service has said.

"We helped a number of JO (joint opposition) protesters who needed emergency care today," State Minister for Economic Affairs Harsha de Silva said without specifying the ailment protestor suffered from.

Other government ministers however claimed 81 drunken protestors were taken to hospital through ‘Suwa Seriya’ branded ambulance services. De Silva said in a facebook only one person was taken to hospital.

Opposition activists and the Government Medical Officers Association criticized the paramedic service as it was started. Paramedics were trained and the service set up by GVK EMRI, an entity that operates a similar service in India.

A group of persons calling themselves, the National Movement for Consumer Protection had claimed that GVK will be given a deal to run a marina in Galle Harbour in return for the ambulance service.

De Silva said in a statement that the claim was false and that GVK EMRI had been paid for all services rendered and the Government of India had given a 22 million dollar grant to Sri Lanka to help set up the service.

De Silva said opposition activists were targeting the ambulance service because they thought its success was politically unfavourable to them, but the service had nothing to do with politics.

"When someone is ill and call 1990, the service will not consider their political beliefs, religion, caste or race," he said in the statement.

"Even people who criticize us may need its services in the future."

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In a facebook.com post de Silva recalled the statement.

He said 34 babies had been born inside Suwa Seriya ambulances and so far there were 88 ambulance in the Western and Southern provinces, 20 in the North and 26 in the Uva province. (Colombo/Sept06/2018 – added comments on one perso)

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