A penurious family in Bihar’s Sasaram town in Rohtas district, pleading for euthanasia, has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the government has failed to arrange for the treatment of its three sons suffering from rare congenital muscular disease that has left them paralysed at juvenescent ages.
The landless farmer, Devmuni Singh Yadav, resident of Chhulkar village, says that he has lost everything he had in the treatment of his three sons — Mantosh, 14, Dhantosh, 11 and Ramtosh, 7, — but to no avail as the disease requires treatment at specialised hospital in the metros and he doesn’t have the resources.
Politicians and administrative officials, he rues, have only been giving him false assurances.
The poor farmer, forced to live in a thatched hutment along with his wife, daughter and the three physically impaired sons after he sold all his belongings including the 10 katha of ancestral cultivable land and 4 decimal home stead land, said that none in his family wants to lead this cursed life anymore and hence they have written a letter to the PM for the permission to end it.
Yadav’s saga is indeed heart rendering. Life was happy for him and his family of six members till 2012 when the eldest son, Mantosh then eight, began undergoing unusual changes in his hands and feet. “They started becoming thinner and weak eventually rendering him bed ridden. Initially, I approached local quacks and doctors at Sasaram besides a physiotherapist at Dehri. But recovery remained elusive,” Yadav said.
After arranging some money, he then took the boy to BHU at Varanasi where doctors prescribed several costly tests. Having exhausted his money, the poor man had no option then to return without completing the treatment. According to doctors, the blood circulation to the veins in the patient’s body had stopped and required longer treatment.
Six months later, while he was still struggling with the treatment of his elder son, Yadav’s second son Dhantosh fell prey to the same symptoms. Soon his hands and feet too stopped working. Burdened with another patient at home, the poor man sold off his 10 katha ancestral land at throwaway price to meet the medical emergency. He was running to doctors and exorcists with his two handicapped sons when he encountered yet another setback in 2017.
The youngest of the three sons, Ramtosh, also developed the same symptoms and became handicapped within six months. By now, the family had sold all the land, ornaments, and precious belongings to pay ₹1 lakh bank loan and ₹4 lakh loan taken from villagers on much high rates of interest. Rendered penniless, the family moved to a thatched hutment, which is deprived of basic amenities like toilet, water and a proper roof overhead.
When this correspondent reached Yadav’s dwelling, 38km distance from Sasaram, the 10/8 feet room thatched hutment standing on five feet high mud walls at the eastern end of remote Chhulkar village, the entire family was struggling with keeping away the rain water entering into their home. The floor was about one and half feet low than the muddy lane. It was raining since three days and roof was leaking. Threat of the dilapidated house caving in loomed large.
Yadav, 55, and his disabled sons were sitting on a mat on the soiled floor. Wife Anita and daughter Madhu, 16, were busy in keeping the floor dry and checking water from entering into the ‘house’. They were using plastic sheets to save the one room house from caving.
Yadav rued since his family is not included in the BPL list, they are not enrolled in ambitious Ayushman Bharat scheme. Hence, they are deprived of the benefits of other Ayushman Bharat and other welfare schemes including PM Awas Yojana.
He says, “The biggest problem is unavailability of a toilet. We could not arrange money for its construction. My wife, Anita, daughter Madhu,16, and me lift the three disabled children on our shoulders and take them to the nearby fields to attend to nature’s call, at least twice a day. We also have to clean their bodies after the morning and evening ablutions.”
Two of the elder brothers were getting disability pension of ₹400 since last year and 5kg ration for per member under Khadya Suraksha scheme after local journalist raised the issue before authorities. “But it is like a drop in the ocean,” Yadav said.
Jul 13, 2019 09:00 IST