Nandurbar :- In a tragic incident, a 60-year-old sick tribal woman succumbed on the shoulders of her 65-year-old husband on a hilly path as he was rushing her on foot to a rural hospital around 22 km away, officials and activists said here on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, Sidhalibai Padvi had complained of certain health issues at their small dwelling in Chandsaili village, up in the forested hills of Nandurbar.
Since the local sub-health centre is reportedly shut for over a year now, the undeterred husband, Aadlya Padvi, lunged her on his shoulders and started a tortuous downhill trek along the sludgy and slippery path to go to the Taloda rural hospital, some 22 km away from the village.
The shocking incident came to light when a tribal youth named Yogesh D. Patil, who was in the vicinity, shot some pictures of the helpless elderly man weeping over his wife’s body, said a Lok Sangharsh Morcha (LSM) President Pratibha Shinde.
“From the information we got, barely a kilometre on the way to Taloda, he was stopped in his tracks by some huge boulders and stones that had fallen off in an hillslide earlier due to torrential rains in this region,” Shinde told IANS.
Somehow, he kept Sidhalibai down to find an alternative path, and returned to again pick her on his shoulders to resume the long journey which he would have completed only by Wednesday evening given the weather conditions and the non-existent roads there.
Barely had he crossed the hillside area, he was shocked to discover that Sidhalibai had breathed her last on his shoulders, Shinde said.
A shaken Patil also stopped to help the grieving Padvi and informed the other villagers who rushed downhill to assist in bringing her body to Chandsaili and complete other formalities.
“This is a monumental tragedy, the kind that we have so far heard only happening in some backward states, not in Maharashtra. An LSM team comprising Katha Vasave, Ramesh Naik, Dilwar Padvi, Jilabai Vasave and others shall visit Chandsaili village on Thursday and prepare a report,” Shinde said.
Meanwhile, the LSM and other local activists have shot off messages to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Health Minister Rajesh Tope and other concerned officials to order an inquiry into the tragic incident.
“We have repeatedly raised the demand to restart the Chandsaili health sub-centre that caters to around 10,000 tribals in this remote corner, rebuild the roads left dug up after a mobile company laid cables and installed its towers, and set up other necessary facilities for this 100 per cent tribal region,” Shinde said.
She also warned that unless the authorities immediately take remedial measures on a war-footing, the LSM will move the Bombay High Court for directions to the government.