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Gorai tribals still await healthcare

Residents of Jamjadpada and its neighbouring hamlets pray nobody suffers a medical emergency after 3 pm.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2009 02:16 IST
Vignesh Iyer

Residents of Jamjadpada and its neighbouring hamlets pray nobody suffers a medical emergency after 3 pm.

These tribal hamlets, located 2 km from the road connecting Gorai creek to Uttan, have access to only one primary health centre located 4 km from the hamlet.

Every day, the health centre downs its shutters at 3 pm sharp.

“If we need urgent medical help after that, we have to go all the way to Bhagwati Hospital in Borivli,” said Nancy Kinkar, a homemaker and resident of another hamlet called Babarpada.

A trip to the municipal hospital is also nothing short of an expedition.

“We first have to walk to the road, then take a bus that goes to Gorai creek. Then we take a ferry to the other side and again take a bus to Borivli,” said Kinkar.

The 300-strong tribal population living in these hamlets in Gorai may be a tad better off than those living in the hamlets of Aarey Colony or Sanjay Gandhi National Park because five out of the six hamlets here have electricity.

But they are still cut off from the rest of Mumbai city, their only link to the mainland being being the bus route no 8 that the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation runs between Uttan and Gorai creek.

The children also have a hard time getting basic education.

A balwadi (pre-primary school) constructed by the government last year still remains locked.

“If we want our children to study, we have to send them to schools in Manori, 8 km away or to Borivli,” said Paradee.
All this, barely a couple of kilometres from the city’s first amusement park — Esselworld. People spend anything between Rs 225 and Rs 300 a ticket to enter the amusement park. That’s at least five times more than what the tribals in Gorai earn in a day.

This is why, despite the presence of private general practitioners nearby, the tribals have to rely on free treatment in municipal or government hospitals. “We earn only about Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 every month which is about Rs 50 a day,” said Chandu Paradee (50), a casual labourer like most tribals here. “A visit to a private practitioner costs us at least Rs 25.
If we spend that how do we feed our families?”

Water-borne diseases are rampant among children here because of contamination of water in the well, which supplies water to the hamlets in the area.

“The water here is so dirty that our children fall ill often,” said a resident who identified himself as Lakhya.