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Arunachal villagers walk 157 km with patient for 5 days to get to hospital

Arunachal Pradesh’s Vijaynagar circle in Changlang district was to be connected to Miao some 8 years ago by a 157-km road. Only 15 km of the road work has been complete forcing villagers to climb jungles and ravines. Salt per kg costs Rs 200 here.

An African proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” But in modern 21st century India, a stretcher-ridden villager in remote Arunachal Pradesh had to be carried by a team of 35 villagers to the nearest hospital some 157 km away through jungles and ravines – all because a road promised 8 years ago has still not been completed.

A report in EastMojo said the mother of Sayedwe Yobin, a 25-year-old student, from the remote Gandhigram village was taken to hospital in a makeshift stretcher in a 5-day walk over 157 km.

Arunachal villagers walk

The report, which doesn’t mention the name of Sayedwe’s mother, said she was not keeping well after she was nearly electrocuted in 2017 but her health began to decline in August, and needed immediate medical care.

Left with no option, Sayedwe decided to take her to Miao by foot and on his back. But luckily, other villagers offered to help and a makeshift stretcher was made for the ill woman so that 4 people could carry her instead of just her son. The team of 35 then set out to Miao. The journey began on August 31 and the villagers reached Miao on September 4.

Gandhigram village lies in Vijaynagar circle of Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district. Miao, the nearest town with a hospital, is 157 km away from Vijaynagar. Though Miao and Vijaynagar were to be connected by road as part of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and a foundation stone laid in 2013, only a 15-km stretch has been laid even after almost 8 years.

The journey of Sayedwe and the villagers was not easy, snaking through dense forests on an incline, crossing rivulets and uneven terrain; sometimes downhill and, at others, a very steep climb. The villagers also had to rest at night for which they needed to fashion makeshift huts and cook for the entire day. But it was the only way to save my mother, Sayedwe added in relief, now that his mother was finally getting medical attention.

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The lack of hospital and roads is not the only problem here. Villagers in Gandhigram pay a very steep price for essentials as porters are required to carry goods through the same jungle. A villager said a kilo of salt costs Rs 200 in Gandhigram.

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