In a shocking incident, villagers in Karnataka's Chamarajanagar were forced to carry a pregnant woman in a makeshift palanquin through thick forests in the dead of night to a hospital 8 km away, as no transport was available, as per videos going viral on Thursday. The videos of villagers carrying the pregnant woman in cloth 'doli' on their shoulders have moved the public, who have slammed the authorities for not making any transport facility available to residents of remote forest villages.
The incident was reported from the district's Dodvani village, located in the fringes of Malai Mahadeshwara Hill (MM Hill) forest region. Shantala developed labour pains much before the due date. As no villager owned a private vehicle, a handful of villagers and her family members, including women, decided to carry her to the nearest hospital, located 8 kilometres away in Sulvaadi.
They quickly constructed a 'doli' with cloth and wooden staffs, and carried Shantala, through the 8-km stretch, passing through thick forest, considered to be the abode of elephants.
Braving the threats of attacks by other wild animals like tigers, wild boars, and cheetahs, the villagers who started their journey at 1 a.m. managed to reach the health centre by 6 a.m., where Shantala was attended by doctors and delivered a baby without any complications.
The government has launched a "Jana-Mana" scheme in the region, where 5 jeeps are being provided for emergency purposes for the use of villagers who have to walk for a minimum of 8 to 10 km for any emergencies. However, authorities are maintaining that they couldn't be reached on mobile due to signal problems.
District Health Officer Dr K. Vishveshwaraiah maintained that the woman should have got admitted a week before. "There are vehicles provided for the utility of villagers and this incident had happened due to signal issues. Necessary action will be taken to set up alternative modes of communication," he said.