Darbhanga, Sept. 20: A 25-year-old pregnant woman had to walk and take a bumpy rickshaw ride for three hours to cover barely 5km to a government hospital today because bandh supporters had blocked all roads leading to the health hub.
The result: Batula Khatun lost a lot of blood before she could be admitted to Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).
A resident of Sarghat village under Madhopur block in Madhubani, nearly 55km from Darbhanga, Khatun reached the town in the morning in an SUV. Though she covered the first 50km in one-and-a-half hours, her vehicle could not proceed any further from Darbhanga railway station to the DMCH because the BJP and JD(U) workers were busy enforcing the bandh against diesel price hike and entry of FDI in retail.
The roads from the railway station to the hospital through Donar chowk, Alalpatty and Medical chowk were blocked by the bandh supporters, compelling Khatun and her family to get off the vehicle and hire a rickshaw for the final 5km.
“The rickshaw puller charged us Rs 125 instead of the usual Rs 20. He tried to take us through narrow alleys, as the thoroughfares were blocked,” Khatun’s husband Mohammad Rahman told The Telegraph.
“The rickshaw, however, could not make it to the hospital. My wife had to walk the final 500m. She was vomiting and bleeding. The journey from the railway station to the hospital took over three hours. On other days, it takes 10 minutes,” he added. Rahman and Khatun have two children.
“The condition of my wife is normal now and she is undergoing treatment at the gynaecology ward of the hospital. Thankfully, the bandh supporters had spared the hospital and doctors were on duty,” said Rahman, who works as a daily wage labourer to support his family at Sarghat.
Sources in the hospital said Khatun was in her advanced stage of pregnancy. “She had lost a lot of blood by the time she reached the hospital,” a source said.
Khatun was not the only patient who had to face difficulties reaching the hospital. Lakhia Devi, a resident of Biroul reeling from high fever, was stranded for hours on her way to the health hub from the railway station.
Though Lakhia received treatment at the outpatient department, she was compelled to spend the night at the health hub because traffic remained disrupted throughout the day. By the time the bandh was lifted, there was no mode of transport for her to return to Biroul, around 50km from Darbhanga.
DMCH superintendent Suraj Nayak said: “Transport was paralysed in the town because of the strike. Though the functioning at the hospital did not suffer, the number of patients was very low today. We received around 450 patients. On other days, we receive around 2,000 patients.”