A day after a tribal man had to walk 10 km carrying his wife’s body on his shoulder in Odisha’s Kalahandi after failing to get a vehicle from a government hospital, a probe was ordered Thursday to ascertain the circumstances which led to the incident. “The District Collector of Kalahandi has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Sub-Collector of Bhawanipatna has been directed to conduct the probe and submit a report at the earliest,” state Urban Development Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo, who hails from Kalahandi district, said in Bhubaneswar.
“Sub-Collector Sukanta Tripathy has been asked to ascertain whether the tribal man, Dana Majhi, had been denied a vehicle to take his wife’s body from the hospital here yesterday,” said a senior officer.
The incident took place yesterday when locals found Majhi carrying his wife Amang Dei’s body along with his 12-year-old daughter. The 42-year-old woman had died of TB at the district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatna.
Majhi said despite all efforts, he failed to get any help from hospital authorities and had no other alternative than to wrap the body in sheets of cloth and start walking to his village Melghara in Rampur block, about 60 km from Bhawanipatna.
Singhdeo, however, claimed an ambulance was sent for transportation of the body of Majhi’s wife to their village as soon as the authorities concerned came to know about it. Unfortunately, the man had by then covered a distance of around 10 km, the minister said, adding “appropriate action would be taken after the inquiry report is submitted”.
When Majhi and his daughter were walking, some local reporters spotted the duo. They called up the District Collector and arranged for an ambulance for the remaining 50 km.
“I told the hospital authorities that I am a poor man and can’t afford a vehicle. Despite repeated requests, they said they can’t offer any help,” Majhi told a local television channel.
“As we got to know of the incident, we spoke to the Chief District Medical Officer and arranged for an ambulance,” Kalahandi District Collector Brundha D said.
“I have instructed the Tehsildar to provide assistance under 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,” she said.