| Chidam Marak and the transformer that was fenced after the incident. Pictures by Saidul Khan |
Tura, June 30: If you ever meet six-year-old Chidam Marak, you would realise what his parents know and feel — that he is indeed a very special child.
The young boy lost both his arms after being electrocuted at Chasingrenear Tura in West Garo Hills on November 16 last year.
While returning from school, the child had urinated near the edge of a high-voltage transformer, leading to the electrocution.
Chidam displays strong will power and determination at his age. “I want to go back to school, write, meet my friends and play,” he said.
His playful nature has inspired his father to knock on all doors, seeking help for his son. “All cries and repeated reminders to Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Ltd (MePDCL) have fallen on deaf ears. It is a clear case of negligence as the transformer was unmanned and unfenced,” said West Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi.
A magisterial probe constituted by the deputy commissioner has blamed the corporation for negligence.
The report said, “The transformer was fenced only after the incident. It was located on the roadside on a very low platform.”
“We are frustrated with the corporation, so we have decided to issue an appeal to help this child,” Bakshi told The Telegraph.
Marak’s father, Roni A. Sangma, a daily wage labourer, said, “I am in a dilemma on how to give a new life to my son. I have met the deputy commissioner, seeking his help. He has been generous and has helped us so far.”
Sangma used to work in the coalmines of Nangalbibra in the South Garo Hills. After the blanket ban on mining in the state recently, he is now unemployed at Tura.
The boy’s right hand was amputated on November 26 last year. His left hand, which had sustained severe burn injuries, needs a skin graft.
Two months ago, his treatment began at the GNRC Hospitals in Guwahati.
“He needs reconstruction surgery, prosthetic limbs and physiotherapy,” said Sangma.
Doctors said he would need a myo-electric hand that costs Rs 6.5 lakh.
With this hand, Chidam can lead a normal life, and write as well as play with his friends.
“Initially, we faced a stumbling block for money but then the deputy commissioner provided us with Rs 1.5 lakh. However, we need more money for the first phase of treatment,” his father said.
“I never thought I would have to struggle to give my son a new life. It is a tragedy and I am poor. The deputy commissioner said he will appeal through the media.”
Bakshi, in his appeal to The Telegraph, said, “Chidam Marak is a victim of self-centredness, our colossal apathy,and crass disregard for human life.
A missionary-run NGO, Bakdil, Bethany Society and Childline have joined the campaign to raise funds in Meghalaya as well.
The deputy commissioner has appealed to the corporation to release compensation.
On January 22 this year, Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma ordered a probe, directing the deputy commissioner to punish the guilty.
He also asked the electricity corporation to compensate the victim.