The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday capped the tariff on private ambulance services in the state. The decision was taken in view of the exorbitant tariff being levied by ambulance drivers during the ongoing pandemic to transport COVID-19 patients.
Instructions have been issued to all deputy transport commissioners to propose reasonable hire charges. The order was issued by the state's Disaster Management Authority to all district collectors and transport officials. In the Krishna district, transport officials met with the owners and associations of the various ambulance vehicles on May 4 to arrive at rates agreeable to both parties. The two sides discussed the transportation of dead bodies of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 deceased from the hospital, mortuary to patients' homes and burial grounds.
The state has fixed a base tariff of Rs 1,700 for transporting non-COVID-19 bodies and Rs 2,800 for dead bodies of COVID-19 patients in Maruti Omni, LMVs within a distance of 10 kilometres. The base tariff is the same for tempos and toofans.
For every 10 kilometres after that, the rates are hiked by Rs 500 for Maruti Omni, LMVs and by Rs 700 for tempos or toofan vehicles. These charges are exclusive of ventilator technician charges and oxygen charges.
For journeys over 150 kilometres, an additional charge of Rs 500 has to be paid to the driver.
There will be no waiting charge for the first two hours and Rs 500 will be levied for every hour after.
In the meantime, the Andhra Pradesh Health Department has stated that research data compiled by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) so far, doesn't establish that N440K is a coronavirus variant of interest, or that it is more virulent. The clarification comes in the wake of widespread concerns over the role of this particular variant in the spread of COVID-19 in the state currently.