Ashadhi Wari: Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services to deploy ambulances for Hajj

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Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) will deploy 75 ambulances during the Pandharpur Yatra, also known as Pandharpur Wari, which will start on June 20 after a two-year hiatus, as part of preparedness and to avoid any unfortunate incident on the travel itinerary.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the annual report pakhi or the procession of the palanquin was not allowed for two years. Now, the three-week trek from Dehu to Pandharpur which covers almost 450 km will start on June 20. During this annual event, pilgrims (warkaris) follow the pakhi from Sant Tukaram to the Vithoba temple in Pandharpur.

Sant Dnyaneshwar Palkhi will start at Alandi on June 21 and the yatra will end at Ashadi Ekadashi on July 10.

The pakhi carries the padukas or footprints of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar and is a popular pilgrimage that has seen the passionate participation of people from all walks of life.

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Dr. Dnyaneshwar Shelke, Director of Operations at BVG Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services, said 15 ambulances will be deployed to Pandharpur before, during and after the Ashadhi Ekadashi. The field control ambulance will be available with the two Palkhis for full routes to Pandharpur, Dr Shelke said, adding that they have coordinated with directions from Palkhi Sansthan to Dehu, Alandi and others locations.

“We have set up two MEMS-108 control rooms in Pandharpur and 53 ambulances per district have been booked for Pune, six for Satara and 16 for Solapur. First responder training plans were handed out to police officers, temple staff and other volunteers,” Dr Shelke said.

All ambulances during Ashadhi Wari 22 will serve Covid-19 and other patients and according to Dr Shelke those with symptoms will be transferred to government facilities with adequate precautions. Each ambulance will be fumigated for 30 minutes after the patient is handed over. Dr Shelke said: “From 2014 to 2019 we helped at least 3,583 patients through our emergency services during the annual pilgrimage”.

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