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Aadhar-less Mita in doldrums
By a sheer unplanned and sudden chance Mita had visited the Cardiology Dept. of the SCB Medical College and Hospital on 08th of February, 2019. Courtesy the initiative of a Good Samaritan Dr Nihar Ranjan Parida, Mita could have an EKCO test done on her.

The attending senior cardiac physicians, Dr Parida in unison, voiced serious concerns vis-a-vis her longevity after having gone her over thoroughly and meticulously, in a clinical manner. If and as and when, in the not too distant future, Mita were to breathe her last, what would be the plight of her three-year-old daughter? This is the story of Mita's 'Aadha-Adhura-Udhar' (Half-Incomplete-Debt) life for Aadhar!

Aadhaar or the lack of it would be that dreaded and venomous Card that could prove to be her death knell! Thus, in such a tragic event, it would be the governments, both, at the Centre as well as that of the state of Odisha, on whom such an onus lies. Shameful and murderous, indeed! Such is not an improbable end for a young tribal woman?

Mita Munda, aged about 23, is a deserted tribal woman hailing from a tribal hamlet, namely Kuchilapadi, in Hadgada wildlife sanctuary of Bhandaripokhari Block of Bhadrak district. Her octogenarian father is insane and has taken to begging. Further, despite Mita being a landless tribal, has been deprived from her forest rights also. She had married Narahari Munda of an adjacent village, namely Podasingudi. Narahari was already married and he had a son when he married Mita. Narahari did not tell Mita about his first marriage and Mita was in the dark. She was severely tortured by all her in-laws, except her father-in-law. "Narahari and his first wife they tried to kill Mita's 20-day-old new born baby girl," Mita alleged. Mita said, "Fortunately I saw this attempted horrendous act and managed to rescue my infant daughter." 

After her marriage in 2014, at an early age, Mita got a cardiac stroke and was admitted in the SCB Medical Hospital and College in Cuttack. After that Narahari did not allow Mita to stay there for even a day and severely tortured her with the help of his cousins and aunt. Mita had come over to Cuttack city along with her daughter. She started staying in a roadside shanty alongside the river Kathajodi, in a bustee (slum) in close proximity to the CDA satellite township. She had managed to save her own life and that of her infant daughter from her husband and in-laws. She saved her life with the help of her cousins who are daily-waged-earners in Cuttack city. Mita manages to eke out a livelihood by working as a domestic help in a couple of houses in the CDA area.

As ill luck would have it Mita again got a cardiac stroke, in 2018, and was admitted in the SCB Medical. After having been duly attended to by cardiac specialists, for quite some time, she was discharged with prescriptions for regular intake of medication and now the monthly medicine cost for her is around Rs 2000. It is very difficult for Mita to afford every month's medicine money. Post diagnosis and treatment the physicians attending on her advised that she should not exert herself too much. This resulted in her opting to do less work so as to prevent any work that would entail great exertion.

She, however, did continue to work in the couple of houses in the CDA to manage her daily expenditure and food. After all she had to earn her livelihood, especially to earn just enough for the upkeep of her daughter. With the humanitarian and compassionate help of the inmates of the houses where she worked she has managed to survive. She lamented the fact, "I faced a great deal of problems for my medical treatment as I was not entitled to BPL and other government facilities. I also failed to get the Birth Certificate of my daughter. All the government officials insisted for my Aadhar Card. For me it is not possible to access the remote Panchayat village office due to paucity of funds and my abject poverty. For the Voter ID Card I went to the Cuttack Sub-Collector's office. But the official said, "No need of Voter ID, you directly get an Aadhar. I duly did the biometrics test, but after a month it had been rejected. Again I went to the Chandni Chowk Head Post Office and went through the biometrics test which also failed. Despite me having struggled and obtained Certificates from the local Corporator Sebati Majhee and Local MLA Debasish Samantaray, stating therein that I was a denizen of the 'bustee' in CDA, these documents are of no use. Almost one year, for my Aadhar Card I am still running from pillar to post. In order to get my Aadhar Card I have borrowed money, for my conveyance, from the inmates of the houses where I work. Now for the School Admission of my three year old daughter is being refused due to lack of Birth Certificate and Aadhar Card."

As of now Mita is spending approximately Rs 2000 per month for her medicines. Her health condition necessitates regular health check-ups, and as she is in abject penury she is avoiding for periodical health check-ups. Being bereft of an Aadhar Card she has no entitlement, whatsoever, to any of the government's Beneficiary Health Schemes like Ayushman Bharat and Biju Swasthya Kalayn Yojana only because of her lack of Aadhar. Though of 'BPL status' Mita is not entitled to receive BPL rations as well as other BPL and tribal facilities.

Our Prime Minister Modi's famous 'bhashan' (speech), "Beti Bachao, Beti Padaho", is only mere political gimmick for people like Mita. Mita is an exemplary Indian who meticulously follows each of the above, but has come a cropper due to lacking an Aadhar only and is resultantly, and incessantly, sidelined from the mainstream public life right due to the wrong systems of Aadhar.

Cuttack Municipal Corporator said, "I have earnestly tried my best to help out this poor woman, but due to the Modi Government's desistence on Aadhar I am helpless for Mita Munda."

Local MLA Debasis Samantaray said, "BJD Government has plenty of facilities and schemes for poor and tribal people's upliftment especially for women like Biju Swasthya Kalayan Yojona and Women Mission Shakti etcetera. Personally I have written, identified and certified that this poor cardiac tribal patient Mita hails from my locality and that I know her personally despite this she didn't get the Aadhar!"

It's a real pity and a great shame to learn that a deserving Indian woman is being deprived of her legitimate rights to live and survive in this great country, solely because of not possessing an Aadhar. It is seemingly evident what a great farce this Aadhar Card has come to be and mean. Whither rights of an orphan and tribal lady India shines, like this, much to our chagrin and dismay.

Mita's little 3-year-old daughter is a bundle of energy and does show a great deal of promise. She is a precocious little girl who, if given the opportunity, shall become an achiever in another decade-plus down the line. But, most unfortunately, her mother's predicament and sorry state of affairs will, sans any doubt whatsoever, clip her wings, ever before the feathers grow.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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