Dantewada: Nurse sails across crocodile-infested river to treat villagers

Dantewada (Chhattisgarh): In yet another example of ‘nari shakti’ (woman power) and self-less service, a female employee of Chhattisgarh Health Department sails on a river full of crocodiles every day to provide healthcare service to villagers in Dantewada district.

Sunita Thakur, who is an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM), has been doing this daring act since 2012. She rows a canoe all by herself each day to cross crocodile-infested Indravati River to provide medical service to the people of Cherpal village.

“I am determined to do my work. I cross Indravati River using a makeshift boat on my own and walk across a thick forest to get to the village where I treat villagers,” Sunita told ANI.

Every day, Sunita starts out from her home at Barsur on her scooty to cover 10 km of her route till Muchnar Ghat. Thereafter, she sails across the river on a canoe as a bridge connecting both sides is yet to be constructed.

The toil for her does not end there; Sunita, carrying four to five kgs of medical kit, then travels through the Naxal stronghold jungles on foot to reach the village and provides door-to-door medical care.

Sunita says she was also captured by the Naxals once.

“I was helping the villagers in getting their smart card made, which is when a few Maoists came from the forest’s side and took me hostage. They also took away two laptops and some important materials,” says Sunita, who hails from Bastar district.

The government has finally recognised her courageous character and has decided to reward her for her duty.

“She will be felicitated for her work in the coming Independence Day or Republic Day. It is because of staff members like Sunita that we are able to provide the medical facility in even the remotest parts of the state,” Dantewada District Collector Saurabh Kumar told ANI.

He also said a bridge would soon be constructed across the river. (ANI)