Kin ‘carry’ pregnant woman across river in Odisha; NHRC intervenes


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the District Collector of Odisha’s Kalahandi over reports of a pregnant woman being carried on a cot to cross a river in the absence of a bridge.

Acting on the petition of human rights activist Akhand, the NHRC directed the District Collector submit an action taken report (ATR) within four weeks.

The incident took place Khamanpada village under the Thuamula Rampur block of Kakandi. Khamanpada is about 25 km from the block headquarter town.

Family members of the pregnant woman, identified as Droupadi Gouda, contacted an ambulance service when she experienced labour pain in the month of December. The ambulance could not reach the remote Khamanpada village, leaving family members with no option but to carry Ms. Gouda by a cot across the Indravati river in a country boat before availing the ambulance. The woman gave birth to a boy. Villagers face such crises nature every day.

Several villages in Kalahandi district do not have road connectivity. Pregnant women of 16 villages under the N. Podapadar Gram Panchayat, encircled by the vast water body of the Indravati reservoir, face similar difficulties.

Recently, Lanjigarh block authorities had come up with a unique solution when laying an all-weather road to habitations situated on hilltops. As many as 16 families belonging to Kutia Kondh tribe of Barguda village were persuaded to climb down and start living at the foothill, from where they can more easily access basic amenities for health and education, and other government programmes. They were allotted houses under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY). Similarly, Kotia Kondh tribals from the Bhedapati hill village also moved to the foothill.



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