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Telangana tribal woman dies on way to hospital after getting stuck for hours in traffic

A 27-year-old tribal woman died after suffering excessive bleeding due to delay in reaching the hospital after she was caught in a traffic jam due to a tribal festival in Telangana.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2018 14:38 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
There were no road dividers on the highway and traffic from both the directions went haywire within minutes.
There were no road dividers on the highway and traffic from both the directions went haywire within minutes.(HT Photo)

A 27-year-old tribal woman died on her way to the hospital after she was caught in a heavy traffic jam due to the unprecedented number of pilgrims flocking to the tribal festival Sammakka-Saralamma Jatara on the national highway in Telangana’s Jayashankar Bhupalapally district on Wednesday, officials said on Thursday.

The National Highway No 163 that connects Hyderabad with Bhopalpatnam in Chhattisgarh was chock-o-block for more than 12 hours on account of the four-day Sammakka-Saralamma Jatara, the biggest tribal congregation of Asia at Medaram tribal hamlet, about 250km northeast of Hyderabad, deep in the forests of Tadwai block.

Reports said nine-month pregnant Segar Kalabai of Hathgal village in Nirmal district came to Medaram four days ago to fulfil her vow.

Kalabai developed labour pains on Wednesday morning and after examination at the medical camp at Medaram, she was shifted to the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) hospital at Eturunagaram town, about 30km away. She gave birth to a male child in the hospital.

She suffered excessive bleeding due to the delay in reaching the hospital and the local doctors at Eturunagaram made arrangements to shift her to a bigger hospital in Mulug town, about 65km away.

“However, the ambulance was caught in the traffic jam all along the highway due to the heavy flow of vehicles to Medaram jatara. She breathed her last in the vehicle itself at Jangalapalli village, about 10km before Mulugu,” Madhukar, a local journalist, said.

Devotees faced a tough time in reaching the jatara spot even though the Telangana police department claimed to have deployed over 10,000 officials for the security arrangements, including 2,000 for monitoring the traffic coming from different parts of the state to Medaram.

Jayashankar Bhupalpally sub-collector VP Goutham said one-way traffic was introduced on the routes to Medaram keeping in view the past experiences of traffic snarls.

“Devotees will reach Medaram from Pasra and Narlapur. On their way back, they will have to take Bayyakkapet–Bhupalpally–Mulug Ghanpur and Parkal route,” he said.

Authorities also said they installed nearly 400 closed-circuit television cameras on all major roads leading to Medaram to monitor traffic movement from the control room and enable emergency squads to reach the spots of traffic jams within a short time on motorbikes.

Traffic, however, flow turned chaotic on Wednesday on National Highway 60km ahead of Medaram. Locals said it happened because of various reasons. One-way traffic rule was enforced only on the interior roads leading to Medaram and not on the national highway where heavy vehicles from Chhattisgarh come into Telangana from the opposite direction.

Secondly, they said, private vehicles and special buses run by state-run RTC carrying devotees were running all through the day and night.

“On Tuesday night, some over-enthusiastic private vehicle owners tried to overtake other vehicles and got stuck up on the highway since there are no road dividers on the highway,” Madhukar said.

“At around midnight, a private bus had blocked the movement of a truck coming from opposite direction at Govindaraopet village. Within minutes, the entire traffic on either side came to a grinding halt,” he added.

Traffic was held up for almost 12 hours for about 50km between Tadwai and Mulug. It was only after senior officials reached there on two-wheelers and regulated the flow of vehicles on Wednesday afternoon, the road was cleared.

More than six million tribal and non-tribal pilgrims visited the fair on the first day on Wednesday. The flow of pilgrims is expected to be much higher on Thursday and Friday when the actual rituals will begin.

The four-day festival honours a legendary tribal mother-daughter duo who attained martyrdom while fighting the army of Kakatiya kings in the 11th century.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao along with vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu, Union tribal welfare minister Jual Oram and governor ESL Narasimhan are scheduled to visit Medaram on Friday and offer prayers.