Another Dana Majhi: Odisha man ‘forced’ to carry daughter’s body on pedal cart in Puri
A man in Odisha’s holy town of Puri had to carry his daughter’s body on a pedal cart from the hospital to the crematorium amidst thousands of Lord Jagannath devotees on Saturday night for want of a hearse vehicle.
District officials claimed they were not at fault as Dhani Sahu did not seek a hearse van, which the Odisha government offers free of cost to poor people.
As devotees milled around the Grand Road, where the nine-day-long Rath Yatra is underway, a miserable Sahu dragged the trolley rickshaw carrying the body of his minor daughter Kabi on it.
Not a single policeman or anyone from the crowd offered help as Sahu took his daughter to Swargadwar crematorium.
A day earlier, he had used the same cart to bring her to the hospital after she complained of chest pain. The 108 ambulance started by state government, had not turned up on time, Sahu told a local TV channel.
“I brought my daughter at 4 pm to the hospital after which she was put on saline. The hospital staff then put her on oxygen mask. She died 15 minutes later. After that, when I looked for a van there was none,” he said.
Puri sub-collector Madhusudan Das said Sahu did not seek any hearse vehicle and left on his own. “We have ordered a probe to find out who is at fault. All sort of support will be provided by the district administration to Sahu.”
The incident comes a year after chief minister Naveen Patnaik launched the free hearse van scheme, Mahaprayan in government hospitals following national outrage over a Kalahandi tribal, Dana Majhi having to carry the body of his wife for 10 km on foot from the district hospital after not being able to get a hearse vehicle.
But despite the scheme, a number of people have had to carry the body of their kin in trolley rickshaw or motorcycles.
Last month, the family of a minor girl in Kandhamal district had to carry her body on a stretcher from the district hospital after they failed to a get a hearse van. The same month, a tribal man in Balasore district had to carry the body of his son on a trolley rickshaw from the sub-division hospital in Nilagiri after being denied hearse facility.
In January this year, two doctors in Angul district were suspended after a man was forced to carry his dead daughter on shoulders to his village after his plea for a hearse van was turned down.