The Gautam Buddh Nagar administration on Saturday fixed an cap on rates charged by ambulances during the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said. “People can lodge a complaint on helpline number 18004192211 or 112 if they are overcharged by the ambulance service provider,” District Magistrate Suhas LY said in official order.
According to the order, any ambulance without oxygen support will charge not more than Rs 1,000 for a maximum 10 km and Rs 100 for every km thereafter.
Ambulances with oxygen support can charge a maximum of Rs 1,500 for 10 km and thereafter, Rs 100 per km, it stated.
Those with ventilator or Bi-pap support can charge Rs 2,500 for 10 km and thereafter, Rs 200 per km, it added.
The administration has also appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Ganesh Prasad Saha and Transport Department officer Prashant Tiwari as nodal officers for ensuring enforcement of the order and action in case of any violations.
Meanwhile, the Noida Authority will begin from Sunday a facility to refill oxygen cylinders of COVID-19 patients who are in home isolation in villages here, according to an official statement.
The decision comes within days of a similar facility being launched for residents of urban areas through their Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and Apartment Owners' Associations (AOAs) which have set up isolation centres.
The Noida Authority said that so far, it has refilled 420 oxygen cylinders and got them distributed to 41 isolation centres through RWAs and AOAs from its facility in Sector-93.
"Now we are extending the facility for people in home isolation in villages of Noida. The service would begin from May 9 at the Community Centre in Sector-135 and people can go to the facility for refilling oxygen in case of requirement," the authority said.
People will have to give an empty cylinder and they will be given back a refilled one within 24 to 36 hours, according to officials.
The time for distribution is 8 am to 11 am, while for submitting empty cylinders, people can go to the facility between 3 pm and 6 pm, they said.
The authority appealed to people to maintain COVID-19 protocols like social distancing and wearing face covers and said that for availing the facility, one must produce a photocopy of the patient's Aadhaar card, a doctor's prescription, oxygen saturation level report along with the COVID report.
"Transportation charges for the cylinders have been fixed at Rs 500 (D-type big cylinder) and Rs 200 (D-type small cylinder)," it said.
The authority's decision to introduce the service comes amid several people facing a harrowing time to get oxygen cylinders refilled due to increased demand in wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The move by the authority has been hailed by village residents and groups.
Noida Village Residents Association (NOVRA) president Ranjan Tomar said the decision by the Noida Authority, which has 81 villages under its jurisdiction of management, will bring respite to people in home isolation in rural areas.
"It's a laudable step. A regularised system of access to oxygen for patients in home isolation who have been prescribed the same by the doctor would also bring down the demand for beds in hospitals," he said.
Tomar added that his association had put up a demand for a regularised system last month itself.
Noida in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of western Uttar Pradesh has been badly hit by the pandemic. The district has officially recorded around 300 deaths so far and has over 8,000 active cases of deadly infection.