A resident of Odisha's Kalahandi, Dana Majhi, walked 10 km carrying his wife's body from Bhawanipatna on Wednesday because he was not given a vehicle from the district hospital, reported PTI. "Despite repeated requests, they said they can not offer any help", Majhi told a local television channel.
Kalahandi district collector Brundha D claimed that Majhi did not wait for a vehicle to be arranged.
According to sources, Majhi had walked for nearly 12 km when some youths saw him and alerted local officials.
"I told the hospital authorities that I am a poor man and can not afford a vehicle", Majhi told local television reporters.
This after the hospital staff repeatedly told him to "remove her body", even after Majhi begged for their help to bring her home.
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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.
By then, Majhi, accompanied by his 12-year-old daughter, had already walked around 10 km carrying his wife's body on his shoulder.
The newspaper also pointed out that under the Mahaprayana scheme, all district hospitals have dedicated ambulances which have to ferry bodies for free in the state of Odisha. Citing instances, she said thousands of people are yet to get the assistance from the government under Harischandra Yojana. Majhi then wrapped the body of his wife in a piece of cloth and carried it for almost 10-12 km towards his village, which was 60 km away from the hospital.
"We would have surely sent the body in a vehicle."
The Naveen-Patnaik-led BJD government has been severely criticised.
"The incident has once again exposed the state government's anti-tribal attitude. Actions will be definitely taken against the responsible person or the authorities", said Deo to Reuters.
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