The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Man in misery lies in vat Cops cold to rotting toe

A dishevelled, frail man lay in a garbage vat near Chiria More, on BT Road, on Friday. The middle-aged man, with a gangrene-like wound on his right toe, has been there for around two months. Every day, hundreds of people pass by him — some spare a glance, but most ignore the sight of a man in misery.

With flies hovering over the festering wound and the bone sticking out of it, the man can do little except wince in pain and extend his arm for help.

“We have been seeing him here for two months or so… He can’t speak, so we don’t even know his name. He hurt his right toe in an accident. Initially, we had given him some medicine, but the wound did not heal. Till a few days ago, he could limp with a stick, but now he hardly comes out of the vat,” said Shantabai, who lives in a nearby shanty.

The woman, who works in a roadside food stall, tries to visit the vat daily and leave some food for the man — known locally as Dukhua.

But the maximum the men in uniform at Cossipore police station, on the other side of the road, have done so far is pass on the information to some NGOs and hospitals.

“We contacted some NGOs and hospitals for help. But the hospitals did not admit him… The NGOs did not take interest as he failed to meet some of their other formalities,” said an officer of Cossipore police station, pleading helplessness.

The 15-odd criminals, in the police station lock-up, however, get two square meals a day and also get medical attention, if required.

Local residents complained that they had informed the police station a number of times about the worsening condition of the man, but the cops did not respond.

“I was passing by and saw him writhing in pain. When I requested the on-duty officer at the police station to do something about it, I was told that it was not his job,” said Arunavo Ghosh, who works with a private security agency.

Ghosh left some food behind for Dukhua. As the man has to fend for himself, people like Ghosh are his only hope.

“He can’t move and so we try to give him food. But we cannot do much beyond that. It is difficult to bear the sight and I don’t know how long he will survive,” said Meenaram, a roadside tea stall-owner, who dropped by to see Dukhua on Friday evening with a loaf of bread, water and some bidis.

The local political parties, who keep track of all developments in the area, are also unaware of Dukhua’s plight.

But when contacted by Metro, Tarak Banerjee, local Trinamul Congress MLA, said; “I did not know about the incident… No one informed me. I will enquire and surely try to do whatever I can”.

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