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Karimul’s medical motorcycle diaries

Souryajit Nath & Arindam Bachar & Debannita Biswas

A tea garden worker in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal runs a unique ‘bike ambulance’ free of cost for villagers, and he was recently awarded the Padma Shri.

Karimul Haque works in a tea garden in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal – and uses his motorbike to take people from Dhalabari and other nearby villages to hospitals and clinics, free of cost. There is a primary health centre at Kranti, about six kilometres from Dhalabari, but it has limited facilities. The area does not have a regular four-wheel ambulance service.

Karimul’s unique ‘bike ambulance’ and mobile number (for calls from people in need of medical help) have become very popular in the villages, and his service is known even among local doctors, police personnel and block officials.

From his tea estate job, Karimul earns Rs. 4,000 every month. He keeps aside 25 percent of his salary for fuel and other costs of running the bike, and another 25 percent is spent in repaying a bank loan. Karimul does not hanker for more money; he believes that Allah will reward him for his work.


This article was originally published in the People’s Archive of Rural India on February 10, 2017.

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