In a shocking incident of apathy, a man from Odisha was forced to carry the dead body of his wife for more than 10 km as he did not have money to afford a hearse van and hospital authorities did not offer him a vehicle or an ambulance.
The incident took place in the backward district of Kalahandi when 42-year-old Amang Deis died of tuberculosis at the district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatna on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday morning, locals found Dana Majhi carrying his wife’s body, which was wrapped in cloth. Majhi walked to his village Melghara in Rampur block which is about 60 km from Bhawanipatna.
Majhi’s daughter accompanied him till some local reporters spotted the duo. They called up the District Collector and arranged for an ambulance for the remaining 50 km of the journey.
“I told the hospital authorities that I am a poor man and cannot afford a vehicle. Despite repeated requests, they said they cannot offer any help,” Majhi told a local television channel.
For those in such a situation, the Naveen Patnaik government launched the ‘Mahaparayana’ scheme in February, offering free transportation of bodies from government hospitals to the residences of the deceased.
Kalahandi District Collector Brunda D said, “As we got to know of the incident, we spoke to the CDMO and arranged for an ambulance.”
“I have issued instructions to the Tehsildar to provide assistance under the Harishchandra Yojana (Assistance to the poor and destitute to perform last rites). I have also asked the BDO to provide assistance from Red Cross and CMRF,” he said.
As per the ‘Mahaparayana’ scheme, dead body carriers are supposed to be deployed at 37 government hospitals and a total of 40 vehicles were assigned for the job.