On a winding walk between rubble and an overflowing drain dotted with plastic that never decomposes, lives Sabita Kaushali in Patia Village's Leper colony. Forgotten by the rest of the world, the families are forced to live in unsanitary conditions.
Patia is not really a village, it is a semi urban area that comes under the jurisdiction of Bhubaneshwar Municipal Corporation, which is supposed to ensure all necessary facilities like electricity, water and sanitation are available to the residents.
In the Leper colony, the drain was overflowing and had to be fixed. The repairs were done once but it went bust soon after because the project was left incomplete. Now, the stinking water spills out on the main road creating a hazardous situation which can infect the open wounds that many of the leprosy patients have.
"We've filed a written complaint. The Councillor, Mayor and other health officials have come and seen the situation but no one has done anything about it", says Sabita.
India officially 'eliminated' leprosy in 2005 when the number of cases reduced to 1 per 10,000. There has been a steady rise in the numbers as of the last few years. 58% of all leprosy affected people of the world live in India. More than the disease itself, it is the social stigma attached to it that makes life a hell for those who contract it. Getting jobs and an education is difficult even for children and family members who have never contracted the disease.
There are between 700 and 1000 leper colonies across the country. Most settlers here have been cured of the disease but continue to carry the weight of social ostracisation. The situation in Patia speaks volumes of precisely that.
Today, take a minute out and put an end to this apathy.
Call to Action: Please call the Municipal Engineer of the BMC on 09437089388 and ask him to make sure the drains are cleaned immediately.
Satyanarayan Banchhor / February 19, 2020
Applauds for our Community Corresspondent Satya Banchor! He acted as a strong catalyst in bringing about this change in the lives of the poor tribals.