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Odisha Man Carries Father’s Body in Makeshift Sling after Health Dept 'Refuses' to Provide Hearse Van

The chief District Medical Officer of Kalahandi has ordered a probe into the incident and said that action will be taken against officials if they are proven negligent.

Anand ST Das | News18

Updated:July 17, 2019, 11:44 PM IST
Odisha Man Carries Father’s Body in Makeshift Sling after Health Dept 'Refuses' to Provide Hearse Van
tribal man from Odisha carried father's body for 5 km for funeral

Bhubaneswar: In a shocking incident, a tribal man in Odisha was forced to carry the body of his father in a sling and walk for five kilometres to the funeral as state health department officials allegedly refused to provide a hearse van.

Pulu Majhi, a resident of Melghar village in Thuamul Rampur block, was forced to carry the body of 55-year-old Nigadi Majhi, who was declared dead at a hospital in Kaniguma on Monday after a brief bout of fever. Pulu Majhi, his wife and family members requested the hospital authorities and the local health department officials to provide a vehicle to take the body back home for the funeral. But the officials allegedly refused to help.

“I had no money with me to hire a private vehicle. When all my requests fell on deaf ears, a relative and I put my father’s body in a long piece of cloth and made a sling out of it. There was no other option left,” said Pulu Majhi, who works as a farmer and daily-wager.

A few of the relatives captured on their mobile phones the scene of the body being carried in a sling.

The tribal villagers expressed anger at the officials who refused to help Manjhi even though the state government has implemented the ‘Mahaprayana scheme’ that offers free transportation of dead bodies from hospitals.

Kalahandi Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr Banalata Devi ordered a probe into the incident. “I can comment only after the probe finds out under what circumstances the body had to be carried from the hospital in a sling. Action will be taken against officials responsible if the probe points at negligence,” she said.

Kalahandi district, which has a population of about 16.5 lakh in its 13 blocks, has only eight ambulances and four hearse vans.

Paramananda Majhi, a local tribal leader, claimed such incidents happen in nine out of 10 such cases in the area. “Public health services in Kalahandi district are in shambles. Being a tribal-dominated and remote area, Thuamul Rampur needs special attention from the government,” Paramananda Majhi said.

In August 2016, a tribal farmer named Dana Majhi was forced to walk 10 km with his wife’s body on his shoulders after being denied a hearse van. His story, widely covered by the media at the time, had sparked outrage, forcing the Odisha government to fine-tune its hearse van service by putting in place elaborate guidelines for free transportation of bodies from hospitals.

(With inputs from Anshuman Patra)

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