New Delhi/Raipur: Realising that extension of lockdown would not get them work, a group of 14 daily wage earners left from Telangana for their homes in Chhattisgarh. Among them was a 12-year-old girl, who walked for over three days, covering nearly 100 km and died barely 11 km short of her home in Bijapur district's Aded.
According to a report in Indian Express, the 12-year-old girl Jamalo Madkam died on April 18 due to electrolyte imbalance and exhaustion. Madkam was the only child of Andoram (32) and Sukamati Madkam (30), who barely survive on the forest produce they collect.
She had left her home for the first time two months ago to work at a chilli farm in Telangana along with some of her relatives and friends. "She went to Telangana with some women from the village," Andoram was quoted as saying.
The report stated that chief minister Bhupesh Baghel announced Rs 1 lakh for Madkam's family.
Many among Chhattisgarh’s tribal population go every year to farms in Telangana to earn money picking chillies.
Andoram was quoted as saying he last heard that Madkam had left Peruru village in Telangana, where she worked, on April 16 with a group. "They decided to come back after realising that the lockdown had got extended and they would not get any work," he added.
The report further stated 13 with Jamalo included three children and eight women.
They quoted their sources as saying Madkam died around 8 am on April 18 when the group reached the border of Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. The group could not inform the family as only one among them had a phone whose battery had died.
Finally, when the group reached Bhandarpal village in Bijapur district, they managed to call her parents.
Medical Officer of Bijapur district Dr B R Pujari said that when they got the news, they immediately rushed over. “Since Telangana had cases, we immediately sent our teams, but we couldn’t find them,” he said.
Chhattisgarh currently has 36 positive cases, of which 11 are in hospital. It is quarantining anyone arriving from outside the state. In Telangana, 872 positive cases have been reported.
Finally, a medical team from Bijapur managed to catch up with the group on the outskirts of Bhandarpal village. While Jamalo’s body was taken to a morgue, the group was sent into a quarantine facility.
On Sunday evening, Andoram and Sukamati arrived to take their daughter’s body.
Said Dr Pujari, “The girl is suspected to have died due to electrolyte imbalance and exhaustion, as the group had been walking three days. They walked through forests, and at one place, she also took a fall.”
The day after she died, Madkam's test results for coronavirus came. She was negative.