Nikuti Tirkey, 75, could not even walk properly. Not because of her old age but due to the suffering and physical wear and tear leprosy has done to her. Life is now taking even uglier turn for her and 70 other families affected with the eroding disease.
“In the name of clearing encroachment along Harmu river, the Government is uprooting the entire Nirmal Kustha Colony settled about 70 years ago near the Overbridge. Those 70 families are sheltering more than 150 old age and young people affected with leprosy. Now on September 10, they have been served notices to vacate the area and shift somewhere else. Where they would go when no one is willing to provide home even on rent,” says Merry Tirkey of Aradhana Samiti, who brought a host of ailing women in Janta Darbar before Labour Minister Raj Paliwar on Wednesday.
One Rupa Korbat who depends on begging like most of the others said that they were settled here with the help of Government and also ‘one military babu’ helped them in erecting part time shanties way back. “Aab kahan jaibe hum log. Bhik to mangte hain. Koun jagah dega (Where will we go now? We beg, no one will give us a shelter),” asks putting the onus on the system and the Government to take care of them and appeals to first settle them before erasing.
Appearing before the Minister with all documents and names of the lives in danger, the dilapidated herd appeared to be pleading before a doctor. “Kya problem hai aap logon ka? (What are your problems),” asked Paliwar before prescribing. He gave a patient listening to the aggrieved, directed his official aides to call the Ranchi DC, talked to him on phone, reiterated the ordeal to the DC and redirected the applicants to him but not before expressing anguish.