EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) has lately been in the news for the wrong reasons. Very few know what EMRI is about, I didn’t until few days ago. But the irony is I should have heard about EMRI earlier, you will get to know why soon.
NRIs in the US know about 911 emergency service (kids are told to call 911 if parents trouble them!). Satyam Computers did get a lot of media coverage about sponsoring India’s very own 911 – dial 108. This a phone number good to know and I hope you never have to use it (like insurance).
On November 16, 2008 my mom got a heart attack sometime in the night. Needless to say we were scared. We had to rush her to the hospital which was quite a distance from our house. My mom was very clear about not going to the hospital in the car. My dad wanted me to call 108 for the ambulance and I dreaded the idea of taking my mom in one of those govt ambulances (I am talking about those old ambulances we use to see on the roads earlier). My dad assured me these were good ones inspite of being a ‘free service’.
I had read about the 108 service being launched in Hyderabad but wasn’t aware it was available in Bangalore. The 108 call center was very efficient and dispatched an ambulance within seconds to our house. But it took a while to reach our house as the driver had no clue of Bangalore roads 🙁 We were immensely tensed. It finally reached our place, my mom walked into the ambulance instead of getting onto a stretcher! As soon she got in the driver told us “I need someone to show me the directions to the hospital as I don’t know Bangalore”, he literally gave us a heart attack. She needed oxygen and the attender in the ambulance was talking instructions from the call center (or some other person) on what had to be done. Not very pleasant situation but no choice.
Luckily it was a Sunday late evening and there was hardly any traffic on our roads. After reaching the hospital my nephew tipped the driver but it was promptly refused. I found this to be very professional.
My mom survived a very complex bypass surgery. She wouldn’t have survived if we hadn’t reached the hosptial on time. I was deeply grateful to the 108 service for saving my mom’s life. After that I was able to connect 108 to what I had read earlier but surely EMRI is something I am reading about only now.
According to many reports EMRI might have been used to divert somes funds. Nobody knows the truth as of today, so better not to comment. Now AP CM YSR says – what is so special about Satyam sponsoring 108 service as they were paying just 5% of the expenses. If the deal was so bad why didn’t the State Goverments take over the whole thing earlier? Why police that deal now? Obviously the politicans must have been benefiting from the entire EMRI organization.
Not sure where these investigations will lead us to. But I sincerely pray we retain and grow the 108 service across India.