Teenager loses life as airlines refuse to sell ticket to Nepalgunj

Bajura, July 6

Mina Budha,15, of Kalika VDC in Humla lost her life after she did not get an air ticket to Nepalgunj yesterday.

Budha was earlier admitted to District Hospital for treatment, but was later referred to Nepalgunj on June 29. She died after private airlines flying to Surkhet and Nepalgunj gave priority to Indian tourists returning from Mansarobar and refused to give her the ticket to Nepalgunj.

After Budha fell sick, her father Kali Bahadur had admitted her to the District Hospital on June 28. Kali Bahadur said doctors had referred his daughter to Nepalgunj the next day saying that she could not be treated at the district hospital.

“If she had got the air ticket, she would have survived,” Kali said, adding “I tried from pillar to post, including the DAO and District Hospital for six days, but the private airlines refused to sell us the ticket.”

Humla CDO Dr Krishna Bahadur Ghimire said Budha was a ninth grader at a local school. According to Ghimire, an-all party meeting held at the DAO had decided some three months ago that each airline would give ticket to two sick people, a student and Nepali nationals under emergency circumstances. “However, the airline companies did not abide by the decision,” CDO Ghimire said.

Not connected with road network, air service is only the means for reaching the district.

Patients have been facing hard times as eight private airline companies operating in the district often prefer foreign tourists and refuse to sell tickets to locals to go to Nepalgunj, Surkeht and Kathmandu.

Chuchhe Kami, of Lali VDC-8, said they were having a hard time as airline companies had closed down their offices outside Simikot airport and would distribute tickets to tourists at the runway itself.

Kami is currently undergoing treatment for leprosy and leg cancer. He informed that none of the airlines sold him the ticket to go to Kathmandu for further treatment.