20 bikers from the Streetsense Bikers Group will provide medical aid to those pilgrims who will be taking part in the Palkhi. They have planned to do so by working in three shifts, with the help of 20 doctors this weekend. In association with the Pune RTO, this group of bikers have volunteered to ride across the Palkhi route, so that in case of an emergency, the pilgrims are able to get immediate medical attention.
Dipen Lomba, one of the volunteers for this event says, "During such processions, pilgrims generally suffer from dehydration, and at times even faint. We are also prepared for minor accidents, as during religious processions, many a times, there is an occurrence of a stampede."
"The Palkhi is by itself an amazing experience. The main idea is to make sure that the travellers get help when ever needed," says another volunteer, Sangram Devekar.
The group had previously given medical assistance to pilgrims during the Ganesh festival last year. Acknowledging their good work, the RTO approached them again this year for the Palkhi procession.
The initiative is the brainchild of Anil Valiv, Deputy RTO. He says, "It is easier for bikes to reach different places during traffic and navigate quicker through crowds. Each bike has a siren attached to it, so that the crowds know that it is an emergency, and give way to the bike."
The bikers will also carry walkie-talkies with them to help communicate better and reach the emergency spot faster. The Streetsense bikers group volunteers will be stationed at a distance of five kilometres to make sure that they can provide help at the earliest. They will also be in constant touch with the police officials. This form of networking helped during the Ganpati Visarjan when we had provided the same services; I therefore do not see any problems during the procession," Valiv added.