Bhubaneswar, Aug 24: A tribal man, along with his 12-year-old daughter, today walked around 10 km carrying his wife's body on his shoulder as he failed to get a vehicle to transport it from a government hospital in the backward district of Kalahandi where she died.
The incident took place in the morning when the locals found Dana Majhi carrying his wife Amang Dei's body. The 42-year-old woman died of tuberculosis last night at the district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatna.
For those in such a situation, the Naveen Patnaik government launched the 'Mahaparayana' scheme in February, offering free transportation of bodies from government hospitals to the residences of the deceased. Majhi, however, said despite his all-out efforts, he could not get any help from the hospital authorities.
Thus, he wrapped his wife's body in cloth and started walking to his village Melghara in Rampur block which is about 60 km from Bhawanipatna. Majhi's daughter accompanied him till some local reporters spotted the duo.
They called up the District Collector and arranged for an ambulance for the remaining 50 km of the journey. "I told the hospital authorities that I am a poor man and cannot afford a vehicle.
Despite repeated requests, they said they cannot offer any help," Majhi told a local television channel. Kalahandi District Collector Brunda D said, "As we got to know of the incident, we spoke to the CDMO and arranged for an ambulance.
"I have issued instructions to the Tehsildar to provide assistance under the 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," he said.
As per the 'Mahaparayana' scheme, dead body carriers are supposed to be deployed at 37 government hospitals and a total of 40 vehicles were assigned for the job.