Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bicholia .. .. ..

Most of you would not know what this means . . .

Bicholia . . . This is the local terminology which is used in this part of the country for middlemen. 

We see quite a lot of them everyday. Of course, one could argue that you find them in various forms in different parts of the country. We call them by various names . . . lobbyist in the government, middlemen in business etc. 

However, bicholias here are of a different type. 

The major thing being they exploit the poor. 

We have a very sick eclampsia patient in Acute Care. It's been couple of days since she was brought in. And she was well into a HELLP Syndrome when we admitted here. We thought about delivering her by Cesarian section if we got at least 3 pints of blood. 

The family being poor . . . that was a huge ask. However, someone helped them to arrange one pint of blood. But that came after 24 hours of admission. 

We have already induced her twice, but without any result. Today evening, I've started to induce labour for the third time. 

However, as I reached the Acute Care before I left hospital, there was this well off person who was showing off . . . talking loud . . . and making a scene of what we were doing with PrD. I explained that we've already told the family to take her to a higher centre. Then, he took out the slip which we wrote for obtaining blood couple of days back and asked me whether he could do something to bring the three pints. 

I told him it is too late now as the condition of the patient has worsened. 

I asked him who he was. The usual answer of a bicholi . . .'I happened to find this poor family trying to find some help. So, I thought about helping them out.' 

The rates can be as low as 100 INR to as high as 10% of expenses involved. We find the latter when the 'bicholia' gets involved in getting a charity written from the hospital. 

We've enough reasons to suspect that many of the 'bicholias' get involved in some form of bonded labourer especially when the poor cannot pay the 'service rates'.

By the way, it is not alone in hospitals such as ours that we find these middlemen. I understand that there are major players who work in the banks and other government offices. 

As part of the community development work we do, we're involved with Self Help Groups. Recently, when we wanted to facilitate obtaining bank loans, we found out that it can only be done through 'bicholis'. The rates they were asking were humongous.

For a loan of 200,000 INR, one has to pay as high as 40,000 to 60,000 INR. 

And it is so rampant . . . 

Of course, I feel that this is one of the major reasons that many of the well meant government schemes do not reach the real. 

There are no easy answers on how to tackle this menace . . . but I hope that this will be open the eyes of people in 'INDIA' about the travails of the populace of 'BHARAT'.   

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