Bhubaneswar: In a shocking incident mocking the 'Mahaparayana' scheme launched by the Navin Patnaik government, a poor man from Odisha was forced to walk down the road, carrying the dead body of his wife wrapped in a blanket for at least 10 kms.
At his side walked his 12-year-old daughter. The incident took place in Odisha's Bhawanipatna early on Wednesday morning.
Dana Manjhi was forced to take home the body of his wife from the district hospital since he failed to arrange a vehicle on his own.
Majhi is a resident of Kalahandi, one of the poorest and most backward districts of Odisha.
His 42-year-old Amang Dei was suffering from tuberculosis.
After walking nearly 10 km, he met the crew of a local television channel. "I told the hospital authorities that I am a poor man and cannot afford a vehicle. They said they could not offer any help," Majhi told them.
The hospital's alleged refusal came despite an existing scheme from the state government for people like Manjhi.
In a state where medical help isn't easy to come by, the Naveen Patnaik government had launched the 'Mahaparayana' scheme in February, offering to transport the bodies of deceased from government hospitals to their homes free of charge.
The television crew called up the District Collector and arranged for an ambulance for the remaining 50 km of the journey.
Under the scheme, vehicles to carry the dead are meant to be deployed at 37 government hospitals and a total of 40 vehicles were assigned for the job.
Kalikesh Singh Deo, a Member of Parliament from the ruling BJD, tweeted, "I have already asked the local minister to verify this and take appropriate action."
Kalahandi District Collector Brunda D said, "As we got to know of the incident, we spoke to the CDMO and arranged for an ambulance". He said he had also issued instructions that the family be provided help under the Harishchandra Yojana for the last rites.
Here is the shocking video.
With PTI inputs