Chennai

Odisha woman who was presumed dead to finally go home

Staff from Corporation’s shelter for homeless rescue her from Neelankarai beach

Maya, a native of Odisha, went missing 12 years ago.

Her family thought she was dead and kept performing annual rites for her.

On May 6, the staff of the Chennai Corporation’s shelter for homeless women rescued Maya, now 50, from the Neelankarai beach.

Soon, she will be reunited with her family.

“We found her during a routine check on the night of May 6, took her to our shelter on the ECR and took care of her. Since she was mentally challenged, we took her to a psychiatrist at the National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Disability, and started treatment,” said U. Sumitha, project coordinator at the Little Heart Shelter for Homeless that rescued the woman.

The staff could not understand her language.

“We took the help of Manish Kumar, who used to translate Hindi for us, and found that she was speaking Odia. She mentioned that she was from Bolangir district,” she said.

The staff from the shelter contacted Tukuni Sahu, an MLA from Bolangir, and the police, and got details about Maya’s family.

“We managed to speak to her brother and he was surprised to know that she was alive. Now the MLA is making arrangements for her to be taken back home,” said Ms. Sumitha, who added that the shelter had reunited two other women with their families in the last few months.

‘Can do better’

Since 2012, over 10,100 homeless persons have been rescued and accommodated.

“Since 2012, we have reintegrated close to 3,500 persons with their families. Many of them are from north India,” said a Corporation official.

However, officials felt they could do a better job if the shelters had their own vehicles.

“We have to depend on police vehicles now. Besides, there needs to be better awareness among people about the shelters. Most often we are mistaken to be kidnappers,” the official added.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:35:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/presumed-dead-maya-to-finally-go-home/article27142530.ece

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