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Youth dies by snakebite, family takes body to bez for ‘revival’
SANJOY KR HAZARIKA
 GENDHALI (DERGAON), July 25 - One youth Ritul Das (29) died after a poisonous snake bit him at Gendhali under Pulibar PS, 10 km off Dergaon town recently.

According to information, Ritul, the son of Rupai Das and Bina Das of the flood-affected area Gendhali, went to Disoi Beel to catch fish at around 4 pm on Thursday. He caught a snake believing it to be a big fish with a dao. Later, the snake bit him on the second finger of his right hand. After the bite he went off to the field for other work.

Later at around 8.15 pm, he felt pain and difficulty in breathing. He was then taken to Dergaon Dhemaji Community Health Centre (CHC) in a serious condition. At the CHC, he succumbed to his injuries at around 9.15 pm. Later, the villagers recovered the dead snake (Mugi Feti – a poisonous snake) which was about 4 feet in length. On being contacted, the doctor who attended to him at the Dergaon CHC, Dr Ranjit Hazarika told this correspondent that the patient was in a serious condition when he was brought to the hospital. “I could do nothing as the patient was brought in several hours after the bite. Anti-venom is not available in the hospital and the patient could not be saved as the infection had spread to his whole body”, he added.

After visiting the area, this correspondent learnt that if the youth had been taken to the hospital immediately, he could have been saved as the amount of poison was less looking at the fact that the youth worked for more than four hours after being bitten. “Due to lack of awareness, he did not take the matter seriously and died,”, Lakshman Das, a relative of the youth opined. The mother of the youth Bina Das told this correspondent that he did not tell us about the bite immediately. “ If we had been informed, then we could have taken him to the hospital immediately,” Dhaniram Das, the uncle of the youth said.

But it is unfortunate that superstitions still abound in snake-bite cases. After receiving the death certificate, the relatives of the youth took the body along with the dead snake to several bezs at Naharani, Batiparia the whole night. Later, the body was kept on the funeral pyre at the cremation ground. But just before it was about to be set ablaze, the body was taken to Gamari near Merapani in Golaghat district to be ‘revived’ by a ‘renowned’ bez. But finally when this bez also failed, the body was returned to the cremation site.

Conscious people have expressed deep concern over the superstitious family’s actions in this age and time. When contacted, the Deputy Superintendent of Dergaon CHC, Dr Kamal Morang revealed that no supply of anti-venom medicine to the hospital was made by the Government. On the other hand, the Joint Director of Health Services Golaghat, Dr Ratul Bordoloi told this correspondent that supply of anti-venom is available in Golaghat district but the Dergaon CHC did not give any indent to take the medicine.

Talking to this correspondent, the president of AASHRAY, a leading nature organisation of the State, Biren Ch Saikia opined that the supply of anti-venom should be made available at Dergaon CHC as the hospital is in a flood-affected area. It is pertinent to mention that the services of Dergaon CHC are always in question. It is also alleged the MLA of Dergaon LAC, who is the chairman of the governing body of the CHC is playing an indifferent role in the management of the CHC.

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