An ailing woman in Malda died on Friday for want of timely treatment as no ambulance could reach her village because of bad roads.
Mamani Roy, a 25-year-old homemaker of Maldanga, a village under Bamangola police station of the district, died on her way to the nearest rural hospital which is 5km away from home, while being carried on a cot joined to bamboo sticks by her family members.
No ambulance or any other vehicle could reach the village because the 5km stretch between the village and Modipukur, where the rural hospital is located, was dilapidated, said Mamani's bereaved husband Kartik on Saturday.
“My wife had fever for the past few days. On Friday afternoon, her condition deteriorated and we decided to shift her to the rural hospital. We called up ambulances and even e-rickshaws but hearing the location, no one came because of the bad road. Eventually, we decided to tie a cot with bamboo sticks to carry her to the hospital,” he said.
They laid the unconscious Mamani on the cot and started walking towards the hospital. When they reached the rural hospital after over an hour, doctors pronounced her dead.
“She died on the way, said doctors. If we could have shifted her early to the hospital in an ambulance or any other vehicle, we might have saved her. It is because of the bad road that my wife died,” Kartik alleged.
Maldanga residents said that the road was dilapidated for years.
“We fail to understand why the (Bamangola) block administration, the panchayat samiti and the local panchayat don't do anything to build the road properly. A number of women in the village have delivered babies on the road. For years now, patients have had to be carried to the rural hospital in cots or in wooden planks. This must change,” said villager Parbati Roy.
On Saturday noon, angry villagers blocked the Nalagola-Malda state highway at Bamangola, demanding immediate construction of the road.
Bamangola police spoke to protesters and asked them to disperse. The latter didn’t budge.
Then, Bamangola BDO Raju Kundu reached the site and spoke with the demonstrators. A written undertaking was given to protesters that road repair would start in three months.
Protesters withdrew the blockade after two-and-a-half hours.
The incident made the BJP and Trinamul trade charges at each other.
“The incident is a glaring example of how the Trinamul government’s Pathashree programme to build and repair rural roads was nothing but a publicity stunt. Also, it proves the Bengal state government has not used funds of the Centre’s rural road scheme,” said Bina Choudhury, a Bamangola block BJP leader.
Abdur Rahim Boxi, the Trinamul Malda district chief, pointed a finger at the elected BJP lawmakers of the area.
“The local MLA (Joel Murmu, Habibpur) and the MP (Khagen Murmu, Malda North) are from the BJP. What have they done so far to repair the road or similar rural roads? Their party leaders are indulging in politics now. The zilla parishad will build the road,” he said.