Gujarat: Child Labourer Dies, Carried On Shoulder As Ambulance Remains Unavailable
On one side there are great facilities for the affluent urban class concerning health care, and on the other end, there is barely any facilities for people to take care of their loved ones in case of an emergency and death. A recent incident has come into light from Dang district of Gujarat where a man was forced to carry a body of 14-year-old boy because of the unavailability of an ambulance. The incident is very similar to Dana Majhi incident in Kalahandi district of Odisha where Majhi had to carry his dead wife on his shoulders, as the hospital denied him a vehicle to carry the body back home.
14-year-old Minesh Palara had been keeping ill for the last few days, and his condition was worsening day by day. He was working at a construction site in Waghai in the Dangs (Gujarat). The boy is a native of Kholajar village in Panchmahals. He fainted while working at the construction site and was surrounded by all the workers. He was then rushed to Primary Health Centre, where Dr Saroj Patel examined him and declared him dead.
Bholabhai, the person who took him to the hospital, inquired for an ambulance to carry the body home. After a lot of outflanking from one corner to another, he was denied ambulance as there was no spare vehicle. Bholabhai then covered the body with sheets and carried it over shoulders towards home. After covering quite a distance, people noticed that Bholabhai was carrying a dead body. This incident shocked everyone and people were outraged. Hearing about the incident, the Sarpanch of Waghai Village Dharmesh Patel reached the spot and called for a vehicle to carry the body home.
As per the report of Ahmedabad Mirror, the executive magistrate of Waghai, DK Vasava said that the ambulance could have been arranged, but Bholabhai didn’t wait or asked for the private vehicle. He further put up a question as for why the boy was not brought to the hospital earlier. It is a case of negligence on the part of the hospital and also the sad story of kids trapped in the vicious cobwebs of the child labour.
Not the first incident and not a story of a single state
Almost one months back, another distressing incident took place in Kanpur when a 12-year-old boy died on his father’s shoulder because he was denied timely access to the medical facility at different hospitals. These incidents clearly expose the failure of healthcare facilities in the country. Be it Uttar Pradesh or Odisha or Chhattisgarh or Gujarat, the apathy of govt. towards healthcare, is turning out to be gruelling for many. People are losing their lives without getting access to proper medical treatment. The government of each state should intervene and try to work with the central govt. towards the betterment of healthcare facilities in the country.
Shoddy health care facilities and child labour in practice
On the one hand, there are shoddy health care facilities for people who cannot afford expensive treatments at private hospitals while there are still many other children like Minesh who work under extreme conditions and end up losing their life. India has legislation since 1986 which allows work by children in non-hazardous industry. In 2013, the Punjab and Haryana High Court gave a landmark order that directed that there shall be a total ban on the employment of children up to the age of 14 years, be it hazardous or non-hazardous industries. However, the Court ruled that a child can work with his or her family in family based trades/occupations, for the purpose of learning a new trade/craftsmanship or vocation. There are numerous socio-economic and demographic factors that propagate child labour in any society. However, two of the most crucial determinants that perpetuate this practice are extreme poverty and lack of social security. In an attempt to augment family income, children are forced to seek employment at a young age. Moreover, the absence of any measures to strengthen economic stability within their families has only impaired the situation.
The Logical Indian community requests Gujarat government to look into the matter. Action needs to be taken against the construction company owner who was employing a 14-year-old in such a hazardous condition and also govt. should work on improving the healthcare facilities.