Monday, May 12, 2008

One Man's Vision- Life to Many

It was 3 am sometime last year. I was waiting for my cousin at the Begumpet airport. The ambulance of the EMRI with lights flashing came in. Two young medical attendants stepped out. As the curious crowd looked on, they pulled out a stretcher and walked a few yards. An old woman with ragged clothes and unkempt hair was lying on the floor semi-conscious. She had no possessions with her except for a stained German silver plate, obviously used for begging. The medical attendants carefully laid her on the stretcher and pushed the stretcher into the ambulance. With its siren blaring and lights flashing it sped away to the nearest government hospital. The full impact of it struck me after a few minutes. In this country, where medical facilities for the Poor are nominal, a dying beggar was given emergency medical treatment and shifted to a hospital. And at no cost.

It was 3 years ago. Senior Executives trooped out of the meeting with a look of incredulity etched on their faces. They were coming out of the Founder Chairman of Satyam Computers, Ramalinga Raju’s office room where he unveiled that day his vision of an Emergency Management Research Institute ( EMRI) and a toll free number to call in emergencies similar to 911 in the US. In response to the emergency call, ambulances with ultra modern life saving equipment and trained personnel will rush in. All this service at no cost and all funding from his pocket. Without exception, all the executives were skeptical. He would not budge. Like a bull in a China shop, he smashed away at all objections and with a passion bordering obsession, he followed up his vision into action. The result. Raju brothers have spent over 50 million dollars from their pockets and the nation now has a single toll free number 108 for all emergencies and Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have over more than 600 ambulances equipped with the state of the art life saving devices and thousands of trained personnel in emergency medicine. The movement of the ambulances is tracked through GPRS from a central station. Anyone with just access to a phone can utilize these services without spending a single rupee. Till date over 30,000 lives have been saved. Other states are now queuing up to enter into MoUs with EMRI to manage the emergencies. Latest is the Indian Government which is entering into an MoU with EMRI for a nation-wide emergency management.

In all these years, the governments in spite of having massive infrastructure and monies at their disposal could not even conceive let alone implement such an initiative. Now in a short span of less than 3 years, Raju has proved that a world class system is possible even in India that is accessible to all people at all times at no cost.

Raju brothers might have been poorer by a few hundred crore rupees, but they have earned the gratitude of a billion people. One man’s vision now saves lives of thousands. Raju deserves the Noble Peace Prize.


Anonymous said...

I am sure that will happen by 2010 once 108 & 104 is national.


Anonymous said...

Being a India based thing it needs a Padma Shri first- which is overdue.

Nobel Prize concept has changed over the years - from Peace to Poverty and now Climate. It may just turn to food if the food versus fuel crisis baloons. Or maybe to anyone who solves the oil price issue or sub prime issue :-)


Jwala Narasimha rao said...

Ramana Garu,
Having associated with EMRI-108 from March 17, 2006 to 31st July 2009 as PPP Lead Partner and later as Adviser, I read this article of yours with a bit of admiration. You lived in the content as a person-probably-close to the founder (s). What a great Idea of Raju that brought the emergency response services to the door step of millions of haven'ts and also haves. The government instead of encouraging the service are engaged in leaving no stone un-turned to put an end. Regards, Jwala