In rugged DJ Halli, healthcare facilities are a far cry

At God's mercy

Residents of Devarjeevanahalli (DJ Halli) are at the mercy of God. Being one of the most economically backward areas in the City, it lacks healthcare facilities and proper roads.

The ones there are have crater-like potholes, and on a few stretches, the so-called roads simply vanish.

None knows better than 29-year-old Salim. The birth of his first child was an unforgettable experience for him, not because he attained fatherhood, but because of the journey to a hospital with his fully pregant wife. “A year ago, on a rainy Friday morning, my wife went into labour pain and we decided to rush her to hospital. That’s when all the trouble started,” Salim said.

“We called an ambulance, but knew it would take a lot of time to reach us on these bad roads. So, we hired an autorickshaw and took her to hospital. After a back-breaking ride through horrible roads, we reached Bowring Hospital in Shivajinagar almost an hour later. Had we delayed by a few minutes, my wife would have delivered the baby in the autorickshaw,” he said.

The condition of the roads is so bad that residents hardly have access to emergency services. “Autorickshaws are local ambulances here. We can manoeuvre through any lane, avoid potholes and reach any place quickly,” says Pasha, an auto driver. “I regularly ferry pregnant women to hospitals and once a woman delivered in my autorickshaw before we could reach a hospital,” he recalled.

The residents, however, say they are used to bad roads and now they don’t even depend on public transport. “Most of us have two-wheelers. Even our children know how to ride on these roads,” says Muniyappa who works in a departmental store.

The roads in DJ Halli resemble a local market with shopkeepers and hawkers selling their wares all along the stretch. “The roads are so narrow that if two buses enter it simultaneously, then there is a huge traffic jam,” a motorist said.

Many are not even aware of a BBMP Maternity Hospital existing in the ward. “It is not surprising considering that the hospital is located in a corner and is surrounded by scrap dealers and piles of garbage. Who wants to go to such a hospital?” an auto driver asked.

Ward councillor Sampath Raj said he had been constantly urging the authorities to provide better healthcare facilities in the area. “The residents are mostly daily wage workers, domestic helps and labourers. In case of a medical emergency, they all have to go to Shivajinagar. We have asked for a superspeciality hospital to be built at DJ halli,” he said.

S S Perveez, marketing head, GVK EMRI that runs the 108 ambulance service, said, “The area is densely populated. The two-way vehicular movement on the narrow roads makes it difficult for emergency services to reach quickly.”

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