Mumbai/Shirdi: In a shocking incident, an 80-year-old sick man died in the pilgrim town of Shirdi after he was taken to hospital in the municipal council's waste collection van by its workers, prompting demands for resignation of the state Health Minister.
The visuals of the unidentified man, lying along Pimpalwadi Road in vicinity of the famous Saibaba temple, being bundled into the van were aired by some Marathi news channels today, sparking outrage. Shirdi Sub-Divisional Officer Kundan Sonawane said the incident was "unfortunate".
He has issued orders to suspend the contractual civic workers involved in the incident which occurred yesterday. A memorandum was submitted in Shirdi police station by human rights activist to take action against the guilty. In the video clip, the driver of the vehicle is asked if he is aware as to what is being hauled into the truck.
"A man," is all he responds and fends off further queries. The man, who had severe breathing problems and could barely talk, passed away, shortly after he was taken by the truck to a hospital in Shirdi, an official of the Shirdi municipal council said.
"Sawant (Health Minister Deepak Sawant) should resign immediately. Despite the 108 ambulance service in operation, it's shameful that the old man was carted off in a kachra gadi (garbage van)," NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said in Mumbai. "This is a conspiracy to revive Shiv Sena's ambulance service 'business' by stopping 108 service," he claimed.
Leader of Opposition Radhakrisha Vikhe Patil, who hails from Ahmednagar district where Shirdi is located, said he has asked the local SDO to probe the incident. "It was wrong on the part of the Shirdi municipal council to indulge in such inhuman behaviour," the Congress leader said.