Jalpaiguri, a small town in the Indian state of West Bengal gets a Republic Day gift. And, the gift is the prestigious Padma Shri award! All thanks to Karimul Hak, a resident of Jalpaiguri, who will be receiving the Padma Shri award from the hands of the President of India for his immense contribution in the field of social work. This achievement from Karimul Hak who is better known to the locals of Jalpaiguri as “Ambulance Dada” undoubtedly brings a lot of joy for the people in West Bengal.
The free Bike Ambulance service of Jalpaiguri’s Karimul Hak
Karimul Hak works at a tea garden and earns less than Rs. 5,000 per month. In today’s world, with such a meagre salary, it is nearly impossible for a person to run a family smoothly. However, for Karimul, his low salary never became an obstacle to run a free ambulance service for the poor villagers of his locality. The 52-year-old tea garden worker ferries patients from their homes to the hospitals and health clinics on his motorcycle in their hours of need. And, he has been running this life-saving service for more than a decade now!
Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times
Almost 25 percent of Karimul’s salary goes into meeting the expenses of running the bike ambulance service. He uses the rest of the money to meet the living expenses of the entire family.
Karimul Hak hails from Dhalabari village of Jalpaiguri district. The village is devoid of any significant healthcare institutions, neither it has regular access to the nearby towns. Situations become even worse during the monsoons when most of the roads in this part of India remains under water. Under such circumstances, Karimul Hak often acts as a saviour for patients requiring medical assistance.
The incidents that triggered the idea of the Bike Ambulance service
Almost 16 years ago, Karimul failed to save his Mother who needed immediate medical assistance. During that time, neither he nor anybody else in his village had any vehicle to take his ailing mother to a hospital in a nearby town. Also, the village was not connected with any sort of public transport. Karimul’s Mother died in her home in the middle of that fateful night.
A few years later, one day while working in the tea garden, Karimul saw one of his colleagues Azizul collapsing down on the ground. Without wasting any more time, Karimul tied Azizul to his back and took him to the Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital on his motorcycle. The hospital was at a distance of 50 km from his workplace. After a few days of medical treatment, Azizul recovered. While he failed to save his mother, he, however, managed to save his colleague’s life because he had a vehicle with him at that time.
These incidents triggered the thought of starting a bike ambulance service for the ill and the poor.
Karimul Hak, the God-send messenger of Dhalabari village, gets a new V15 bike ambulance from Bajaj
Local people of the Dhalabari village consider Karimul Hak as a God-send messenger. Till date, the Ambulance Dada of the Jalpaiguri district has saved many lives. Two years back, Bajaj Automobiles modified his bike and equipped the same to carry a waterproof stretcher. Moreover, the company also installed ports for oxygen cylinders. Last year, Bajaj Automobiles gave Karimul a new V15 bike ambulance so that he can serve more people of his village and adjoining villages efficiently. Bajaj took these initiatives as part of their CSR program.
Karimul Hak now dreams of having an ambulance equipped with all kinds of advanced healthcare facilities. Even if he gets a full-fledged ambulance, Karimul will continue running his bike ambulance service as he considers it to be his Mother!
Karimul Hak narrates, “The bike ambulance is my Mother. How can one leave his Maa?”
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