| Sukna Devi and her infant Manju wait for the pulse polio team to arrive on Thursday. Picture by Amit Kumar |
Sukna Devi rushed back home from Jharkhand so that her infant could be administered the pulse polio vaccine on Thursday but was left disappointed.
A 24-hour bandh called by the Maoists in east Bihar poured cold water on the hopes of several parents. All of them were waiting for vaccination teams to administer two drops to the children to keep the dreaded polio at bay.
Thirty-year-old Sukna lives at Harna village in Jhajha block with her husband Surendar Yadav. The couple have a 10-month-old daughter, Manju, and two older children.
Sukna hoped Manju could be administrated the pulse polio vaccine on Thursday.
The bandh call of the Maoists, however, threw life out of gear. The pulse polio team did not turn up for fear of the Maoists.
The Centre started a pulse polio drive from January 19. Thursday was the last day of the campaign, which is different from the routine pulse polio immunisation programme conducted on Sundays.
Arun Kumar Bohora, a social worker in Jhajha, said: “The fear of the Maoists is evident from the fact that neither the parents tried visiting the Jhajha township nor did the pulse polio team dare to travel around 6km to the village.”
Dr R.S. Choudhary, the Jhajha referral hospital in-charge, said the healthcare centre has 18 transit teams, apart from 105 door-to-door teams, for the pulse polio drive. The teams visit the remote areas of the district in private vehicles. However, the teams were unable to go because the vehicle owners refused to transport them.”
He added that a special pulse polio drive would be organised soon for those who missed out on this campaign.
The Maoists called the 24-hour bandh in the east Bihar districts from Thursday midnight, alleging brutality of security forces on villagers.