Tea-stall worker who survived 2001 quake,loses vision in hooch tragedy

Having survived the 2001 earthquake with a twisted palm,Chimanbhai Devjibhai Patel (60),who works at a tea stall,wasn’t aware that his daily fix will render him blind.

Written by Amrita Didyala | Ahmedabad | Published:July 11, 2009 12:56 am

Having survived the 2001 earthquake with a twisted palm,Chimanbhai Devjibhai Patel (60),who works at a tea stall,wasn’t aware that his daily fix will render him blind. Chimanbhai lost his vision in the ‘hooch tragedy’ this time he consumed his potli,which he had sourced from a liquor den near the fire brigade office in Odhav near to his house in Veratnagar on the Odhav Road,on Tuesday evening.

The medical team from the Sheth CH Nagri Municipal Eye Hospital has identified him as one of the ‘chronic papilitis’ patients,and has administered ‘tricort injection’,which works as a steroid for strengthening the eye nerves and reduces swelling.

About the liquor den,he says: “It is near the fire brigade office in Odhav. It is a very bid adda (liquor den). I don’t know who exactly handed over the pouch to me. I was standing in a line. It is always like that in the adda. You get it in so many places across the city,but it has never been like this before.”

He says after having drunk half a glass,he felt a bit uneasy and kept aside the remaining two pouches that he purchased for Rs 50. By next evening he was gasping for breath and had completely lost his vision,before passing out. He adds: “I had visited a neighbour’s place when I heard that he had died of drinking this liquor on Monday. By evening,I was feeling restless and could not see anything. I felt like I will not survive and then collapsed. All I know after I came to my senses was that I was given two injections,in the area below each of my eyes. Now I can faintly see if someone is standing in front of me.”

Chimanbhai says that while the earlier tragedy was something over which he had no control (a concrete slab fell on his hand after he jumped off a two-storied building),this was completely his doing. “I admit this is my fault. That was something over which I had no control,but this is my fault.”

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