The Lifeline Express, also known as the Magic Train of India, celebrated its 25 years of meticulous service to the dejected and deprived masses of India. It is the world’s first hospital on a train and was started on 16th July, 1991 with 3 coaches. The train has been a frontier of an unprecedented ideology which is now being followed by many countries and initiatives such as China, Central Africa, Riverboat hospitals in Bangladesh and Cambodia. The primary vision of the train is to serve the rural masses of our country, who are bereft of even the most preliminary medical services, free of cost.
Since its inception, the Magic train has covered 130 districts in 18 states by travelling more than 2 lakh Kilometers and has served more than 10,00,000 underprivileged citizens by restoring sight, movement, hearing and corrected cleft lips. It is the flagship of the Impact India Foundation, a Mumbai based NGO, and the Indian Railways.
The Lifeline Express has worked to facilitate dental, neurological and state-of-the art therapeutic treatments. In addition to providing these crucial services, it also works to enhance the productivity of the local government by supporting their health infrastructure. It provides these local bodies with initiatives and encourages them to improve their medical help scenario. Apart from boosting the overall medical health of our rural hinterland, it has also acted as a veritable channel for the transfer of appropriate technology to other countries to set up similar projects. The new Lifeline Express, given by the Indian railways in 2007 has 5 coaches and it will soon be reimbursed with two new coaches, entirely dedicated to cancer detection and family planning.
“I want to extend our medical services. We need a blood bank to do major surgeries. Therefore we are restricted, but we are not restricted in attitude. LLE has caught the people’s imagination. Hundreds of villagers are clamouring for help”, told The Impact India Foundation’s Chairman R.C. Sarin to The Hindu.
With more than a million lives touched, The Lifeline Express has indeed caught people’s imagination. It has changed lives and has given truth to the once merely conjured up statement, that if the deprived cannot reach the well, the well will go to the deprived.
UJJWALA SINHA | TOC
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