Woman in remote Himachal village gives birth in jungle on failure to reach hospital due to lack of road, 11 such cases reported

KULLU- Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department’s lousy attitude and State Government’s ignorance toward construction of announced roads in remote parts of the State are causing immense suffering to public. Failure of HPPWD to lay roads to these remote regions has kept villagers deprived of mother-child health services and health services in general. For government, it should be a matter of grieve concern that depriving health services to its citizens in democratic state equals to violation of ‘Right to Life’.   

Reportedly, a pregnant woman, a resident of remote Tarashi Village in district Kullu of Himachal Pradesh gave birth to the baby while she was on the way to hospital. Fortunately, both the mother and the child survived. It wasn’t the only case reported from this region. About 11 similar cases have been reported where women risked their lives and gave birth to babies in the middle of nowhere because the constructed the road proposed under Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojan is pending despite announcement. The locals have even provided land to authorities in a hope of a motorable road. The residents of these villages had been asking the government to provide a road and connect them into mainstream lifeline time and again. With no options for motorable transportation, locals are threatened by wild animals too.

In Feb months of 2015, a delegation of local representatives of these villages had met the Chief Minister with a plea to provide funds for the road.

The Pradhan of the Panchayat confirmed the reports of females deliveries conducted in open as distance of nearest motorable road is about 20 kilometers from the villages in this region.

As per reports, the Himachal Pradesh Public Works department has not even prepared the D.R.P. report of the road and there is no sign of any sort of progress in the matter. The lousy attitude of bureaucrats is costing these villagers.

Not just Tarashi, but other villages like Kain (काईन), Bandal( बंदल), व Dachaani (दचानी) are awaiting deliverance of government’s promise to lay a road to connect these villages to main roads. Villagers travel 20 kms on-foot through Jungles of Katrai (कटराईं) or Patali Kuhl (पतलीकूहल) to reach the main road.

The villagers are now losing hope and are furious over government’s attitude towards construction of the road. Hundreds of villagers are suffering and in medical emergencies patients are carried on backs.

The locals have warned government that either provides them with proper road or they would use NOTA button in next elections. Residents alleged that political leaders are only power-hungry and care to remember their villages only during elections.

When the Sub-.Divisional Officer (SDO), PWD, B.C. Negi was asked about pending construction of road proposed under PMGSY, he said the department will conduct D.R.P. in a month or so after the HP Forest Department issues the required N.O.C for the laying the road. If conditions favored, the SDO said, the work on the road could start in July or August.

PWD Engineer Lalir Bhushan, on the other hand, the work will commence only after D.P.R. report and clearance of other official formalities.

The administration keeps shuffling the files in-between government departments with no regard to human life. There is no priority order with respect to urgent matters that must be attended first and fast.   

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