By bappaditya paul
Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to build trauma centres at all major airports in the country, including Kolkata, in order to facilitate early emergency medical intervention for critical patients coming into big cities for specialised treatment.
According to AAI chairman V P Agarwal, most airports in the country have land in excess of their operational need and trauma centres are being planned on such land. These plots are usually located on the city-side of airports and are identified as “commercial land” in AAI terminology.
“In emergency medical situations, response time is critical in patients’ chances of survival. The trauma centres are being planned keeping this in mind; they will be set up through public private partnership (PPP) mode,” Mr Agarwal said.
“Though the proposal is still at a preliminary stage, the idea is to lease out identified land to private hospital groups that would build the trauma centres. We have spoken to some private health consortiums informally and they have expressed interest in the proposal,” he said.
The proposal is likely to be taken up at the AAI board meeting next month.
At the initial stage, the authority plans to set up trauma centres at airports in metro cities and state capitals, which see a large number of critical patients and accident victims being flown in for emergency treatment.
“We are looking to set up trauma centres in major airports like the ones in Kolkata and Ahmedabad, where critical patients fly in from smaller towns within the state as well as neighbouring states,” the AAI chairman said.
N S C Bose International Airport in Kolkata, which happens to be the largest airport in eastern India, sees a large number of critical patients arriving from north Bengal, the north-east states and Bangladesh; a trauma centre at the airport may benefit many people.
The airport has large tracts of unused land; the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) also vacated a large plot last year that has been under their possession for several years , adding to unused land bank at the airport.
(The author is Senior Reporter, The Statesman, India. This report first appeared in The Statesman on 8 June 2013.)