Srinagar, June 27: Tariq Ahmad Patloo, whose struggle in getting timely transportation to the shore of Dal Lake during his Covid illness, prompted him to design his own Shikara as a water ambulance to ferry patients like him to lake’s shore.
Patloo expressed happiness after Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised his efforts for running a floating ambulance service in famous Dal Lake amid Covid-19 pandemic.
During his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, PM Modi appreciated Patloo’s novel idea of boat ambulance.
“I extend my gratitude to PM Modi for mentioning my efforts during his programme ‘Mann Ki Baat'. The appreciation from him is a great honour and means a lot for me. I hope the mention of my work in the programme will benefit my community that faced a lot of problems during the ongoing pandemic,” he said.
Mentioning Patloo and his floating ambulance Modi said that there were many people in India who had come forward and worked to help the doctors and he had come to know about one such attempt from Srinagar.
“Here a Boat Ambulance Service was started at Dal Lake. This service was started by Tariq Ahmad Patloo of Srinagar, who is a houseboat owner. He himself also fought the battle with Covid-19 and this inspired him to start the ambulance service,” said Modi about Patloo’s innovation.
He said that a campaign was also underway to make people aware of this ambulance, and continuous announcements from the ambulance were also being made by him.
“The effort is that people should wear a mask and undertake other necessary precautions too," he said.
Patloo, who contracted the coronavirus during the first Covid-19 wave in August last year, faced a lot of difficulties to reach the hospital from Dal waters.
Though he quarantined himself during the initial days, his health deteriorated and was shifted to SMHS Hospital for treatment.
“I felt helpless in reaching the shore of Dal Lake and to further reach the hospital. It was a difficult time for me and my family,” he said.
This incident etched in his mind for good as he decided to make a boat ambulance to ferry people who might need it during Covid-19 illness or any other.
“While recovering at a bed in the hospital I kept thinking about how to make a floating ambulance for all the Dal dwellers who are in need of this kind of facility,” he said.
Though he did not blame anyone as people were scared to come in contact with an infected person, the incident gave him a lifelong lesson to help people in dire need during the health crisis.
After getting discharged from the hospital, Patloo’s sole objective was to design a floating ambulance for which he got some help from an NGO providing him equipment.
Patloo’s floating ambulance is equipped with an oxygen concentrator, oxygen cylinder, first aid, stretcher, wheelchair, BP set, and PPE kits.
“I have a dream to do something big for my community who has suffered a lot in the past three decades. Now, my next step is to make a fire service boat for the people living in Dal Lake,” Patloo said.