New Delhi: Clad in a modest white sari, 65-year-old Sarthi Majumdar, a widow who has lived in Vrindavan for 40 years now, says she is happy that there is now an ambulance service for women like her.
Sulabh International, a non-government organisation, on Thursday provided five ambulances to Vrindavan-based widow homes that house 250 widows.
"It was horrible that Bhangis (scavengers) took the bodies (of widows) and disposed them in the jungles. Now at least we all can be ferried in these ambulances," Sarthi told a news agency. Sarthi was among 250 widows in the national capital on a trip arranged by Sulabh International.
"We have handed over five well-equipped ambulances exclusively for them. The ambulances would be kept round-the-clock in Vrindavan to meet any emergency," said Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Patahk.
The ambulances are equipped with a blood pressure measuring machine and glucose meter each. First aid can be provided within the ambulance.
The Supreme Court had taken a dim view of the manner in which bodies of widows who lived in government-run shelters in Vrindavan were reportedly chopped into pieces and put in gunny bags for disposal, because there were no funds for a cremation.
The apex court had asked the National Legal Service Authority to contact Sulabh International to help the widows living in five shelter homes in Vrindavan.
The NGO has also decided to provide monthly financial aid of Rs 1,000 to each of the widows.
"We will now take care of every need of the widows and orphans who roam about and beg on the streets of Vrindavan. Right now, we will start on our own, but at the same time we will also approach the central as well as state governments and big corporate houses for help. The idea is to ensure a dignified life to the widows," Pathak said.