Body of expat worker expected to be sent today

Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

Body of the 45-year-old Indian worker from Bihar who passed away early yesterday is expected to be sent home today.  His relatives, who were working with him, will accompany the body. 

The doctor at Jaiprakash Associates Limited (Jaypee Group) dispensary said that the man passed away around 5:40am due to cardiac arrest.

The man was brought to Jaypee Group company dispensary at  Zawakha on August 19. Zawakha is located around 32km from Wangdue bridge.

On August 19 evening, the 45-year-old man was drunk and fell from the first floor of the structure at the workers’ camp near the Punatsangchhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (PII) dam, said a fellow worker at the site.

He was brought to the dispensary around 10:50pm with a head injury.

The doctor at the dispensary then consulted the surgeon in Wangdue who advised to keep the patient at the dispensary, as his injury was minor and treatable.

Other workers of the Jaypee Group claimed that the deceased was unable to talk or recognise people due to his injury.

The Jaypee Group dispensary doctor said that the person was under medication and talked little and communicated by nodding on August 20.

However, on the following three days, he was able to eat, talk and also walk to the washroom.

The Jaypee Group doctor said that he also consulted a neurosurgeon at the JDWNRH on August 23. The same day, around 9pm, the person had seizure and mild respiratory distress. He was treated at the dispensary.

The surgeon at Wangdue hospital said that it was reported that the patient was treated and was okay.

After consultation, it was decided that the patient be sent to Wangdue hospital the next morning. 

“He didn’t have repeated seizure and the patient was okay. So, I told him (Jaypee Group dispensary doctor) to send him to Wangdue. And would be then referred to Thimphu for an MRI if he had another seizure.”

After the man passed away yesterday, around 200 workers staying at the PII dam campsite came together demanding that the deceased and other workers be sent home.

Soon around 15 De-Suups, PII security personnel, and Zawakha police arrived to control the crowd.

A 40-year-old worker said that he was among the crowd as he was worried that the deceased would be cremated in Bhutan and not be allowed to leave for home.

Other workers  said that the carelessness of the medical team had caused his death.

Police, De-Suups and other officials protected Jaypee Group Management officials from the furious workers.

The body was taken to Wangdue hospital yesterday accompanied by four relatives of the deceased.

The Jaypee Group management has arranged ambulances for the body to be sent home at the earliest possible.

PII managing director, Amresh Kumar, said that it was likely that the deceased and the relatives would leave for Bihar today.

He said that the workers who asked to leave did so due to an emotional outburst given the situation.

Workers continue to express their wish to leave for home.

A Jaypee Group worker said that he had been in Bhutan for 15 months. Usually, workers leave for home every few months and some after a year.

“The mess food has worsened,” said a 27-year-old worker. “There is no diversity. It is always potato. Before the lockdown, things were better.”

Others question the whereabouts of numerous forms they filled requesting to leave for home prior to the lockdown.

“We want to go home,” said another worker.

Earlier this year, the projects arranged to send 500 labourers home in batches. The projects sent the labourers in consultation with the authorities and the Embassy of India in Bhutan which issues them necessary documents.

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