A tribal man from the eastern Indian state of Odisha walked 10 kilometres carrying his dead wife's body after he failed to get transport from the government hospital in the district of Kalahandi where she had died of tuberculosis the previous night.
Dana Majhi wrapped his 42-year-old wife's body in sheets taken from the hospital bed, put her body over his shoulder, and started walking with his 12-year-old daughter to their village, about 60 km from the district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatha.
A few local reporters spotted the duo on their way and called up the district collector to arrange an ambulance for the rest of the journey.
The ‘Mahaparayana’ scheme launched by the Odisha government in February offers free transportation of corpses from government hospitals to the residences of the deceased. The scheme also deploys helpers at 37 government hospitals and allots 40 vehicles for the purpose.
Manjhi, however, despite trying, was unable to get any transportation from the hospital.
“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,” Manjhi told a local television channel.
Kalahandi district collector Brunda D told PTI, “When we got to know of the incident, we spoke to the chief district medical officer (CDMO) and arranged for an ambulance.”
“I have issued instructions to the tehsildar (tax collector) to provide assistance under the Harishchandra Yojana (assistance to the poor and destitute to perform last rites). I have also asked the block development officer to provide assistance from Red Cross,” he added.
The state government on Thursday ordered a probe into the incident.