Dead bodies on bike a common sight in Nabarangpur

Umerkote: When the pictures of dead bodies being carried on a trolley rickshaw or a bicycle are carried in the media, it invites outrage among the people in the rest of the state. But such sights are more the norm than the exception and hardly raise any eyebrows in the backward, poverty-stricken, tribal dominated Nabarangpur district.

After trolley rickshaw and bicycle in the past, it was the turn of motor cycle to be used to transport a dead body in the district on Thursday.

Too poor to hire a hearse vehicle, people of the remote Bharuamunda village in Jharigan block had no option but to carry the body of Tami Jani, younger sister of Makaranda Pujari of the village, found hanging in a tree, to Umerkote hospital for post mortem on a hired bike. After the post mortem, the body was carried back to the village for cremation on the same bike.

Asked about the matter, Dr Sunil Kumar Bagh, Medical Officer of Umerkote Hospital, said the hospital has been provided with a hearse van to carry dead bodies. But when the van is not available, people make their own arrangements to carry the dead body.

Barring Umerkote hospital, there is no hearse van in any of the blocks at present, he said, adding that there should be at least one hearse van in each block of the district

“If the government provides us more hearse vans, we can utilise them in different blocks,” he pointed out.

Neither the administration nor the political representatives appears to be losing any sleep over the pathetic sight of bodies being carried on rickshaws, bikes and bicycles seen regularly on the dusty roads of interior Nabarangpur

“Sadly, neither the state government nor the district administration has made any effort to provide a hearse van to the hospitals in these blocks to carry dead bodies. In the absence of hearse van, private vehicles owners demand a hefty amount which is beyond the capacity of the poor people. Finding no other way, they carry the bodies of their kin in bi-cycle, bike or anything they can lay their hands on,” said Munna Padhi, a local youth of Umerkote.

Stating that local MLAs and ministers have not taken any steps to put an end to such unethical practices, he said if the government fails to provide hearse vans in the hospitals of these blocks at the earliest, the people of these areas would be forced to take to the streets.

Till the administration wakes up, the people in the remote villages in Umerkote, Raighar, Chandahandi, Kundei, Jharigan and Dabugan blocks will continue to depend on bullock carts, bicycles, bikes or whatever other means they can afford to carry their dead.