For first time in India, TN appoints woman as 108 ambulance driver

A woman has been appointed to drive an ambulance in Tamil Nadu, claimed to be the first in the country. Chief Minister K Palaniswami flagged off 118 as part of an initiative to strengthen emergency services in the state on Monday.

According to an official statement, M Veeralakshmi was appointed as the driver of one of the newly launched ‘108’ ambulances and it is a ‘first’ in the country.

A cab driver by profession, Veeralakshmi was at the wheels of an ambulance, which was inducted into government service for Covid-19 related work on Monday. She is the first woman ambulance driver in Tamil Nadu, though a few women in other states of the country have challenged men in this field too.

The mother of two children, Veeralakshmi, wants her actions to speak more than her words. “I never knew that I would be the first woman ambulance driver in the state. I applied for the job since there was a vacancy and I felt I deserve it. Only after I went for the interview, I came to know I am the first woman in the field,” she told the media.

On March 24, Mr Palaniswami had announced in the Assembly that to further strengthen the 108 ambulance emergency services, 500 new ambulances will be dedicated to the state at a cost of about ₹ 125 crore.

To implement it, in the first phase, 90 ambulances and 10 blood collection vehicles, at an estimated cost of ₹ 20.65 crore and ₹ 3.09 crore respectively, were procured.