Pradeep Pattanayak

The Mahaprayan Yojana launched by the Odisha government with the objective to provide free transportation for dead bodies has come to a cropper. The Mahaprayan vehicles are now gathering rust and dust at several hospitals across the state. 

While the Mahaprayan vans provided to Cuttack city hospital are lying unused on the hospital premises, two such hearse vehicles are also lying defunct at the SCB Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH). Because of this, people who need such services are experiencing a lot of problems. With no choice left, some are forced to hire private hearses and some others, who cannot afford them, carry the bodies of their near and dear ones on trolleys and auto rickshaws. 

Following the incident of Dana Majhi of Kalahandi carrying his wife’s body of his shoulders in 2016, the government had launched the Mahaprayan Yojana. While Cuttack SCBMCH got two hearse vehicles, Sishu Bhawan, Acharya Harihara Cancer Hospital, and City Hospital received one each. 

Because of the lackadaisical attitude of the Red Cross officials, all these vehicles are now lying unused. 

Expressing his concern, president of Rajya Rogi Adhikar Mancha, Amiya Bhushan Biswal said, “Because of the administration’s inertia, such a good service has failed.”

When contacted, Cuttack district Collector Bhabani Shankar Chayani said, “We have been informed that some of the Mahaprayan vehicles are lying defunct. We will take up the matter with the government and steps will be taken for the replacement of the vehicles.”

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