Odisha: “Familiarity Breeds Contempt”; Fix Responsibility Mr. Chief Minister

Bhubaneswar: Poverty, illiteracy and belonging to the last strata of the society, an individual was almost deprived of basic human rights in the state of Odisha. The government apathy lay thread bare from the sight, which swelled the eyes of many with tears, as a man carried his dead wife on his shoulders alone for 10 kilometres while his daughter walked by his side crying aloud mourning her mother’s death. The visuals could be seen even on many national television channels in the country.

Human life has no value? Does a dead person not deserve a decent cremation? Many pertinent question arise after the incident happened at district headquarter Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi district in the state of Orissa.

The 42-year-old deceased wife Amang Dei died at the district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatna while undergoing treatment for tuberculosis. Due to poverty her husband Dana Manjhi from Melghara village under Rampur block requested for an ambulance or mortuary van to transport his dead wife back to village. But denied help from the authorities he decided to carry his dead wife wrapped in bed sheet for over 10 kilometres before journalists belonging to a local TV channel passing by happened to meet Manjhi. Seeing his plight the journalist informed the district collector. After the intervention by the district collector an ambulance was arranged for the transportation of his dead wife.

On being enquired about the incident by media later the Kalahandi district collector Brunda D. expressed grief over the incident and she said “we have arranged an ambulance after speaking to the Chief District Medical Officer. The Tehsildar has also been asked to provide assistance under Harishchandra Yojana. And the Block Development Officer (BDO) has been asked to provide assistance from Red Cross fund and CMRF”.

From Nagada malnutrition deaths of children to the present one it seems there is severe lack of administration at various levels in the State. When an ambulance could be arranged with the district collector’s intervention confirms that there was vehicle available for transportation but it was deliberately not provided. The lackadaisical approach by the district hospital shows that it fears nobody in the hierarchy. Lack of shouldering responsibility and government apathy towards the poorest strata of the society in a tribal district of the state unmasks the hypocrisy of the government.

Politics of inaugurating schemes without proper implementation does not ensure that the facilities rendered always reaches the right recipient. It becomes the duty of the government to ensure it. And it should not be forgotten “familiarity breeds contempt” it has been over 15 years since the government is in power.


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