Karimul Haque: The man saves patients through his 'bike-ambulance'


In Malbazar region of Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal when somebody falls ill and require an ambulance they call a friendly neighbour, who is a tea- gardener. Karimul Haque, the tea-gardner is the one who can be relied upon because he drives any patient upto 45 kilometers from the village, on his bike and that too free of cost. Karimul Haque barely earns 4000 bucks a month, but has dedicated his life to ferry patients to the hospital on his motorcycle. His service is available anytime either day or night, he gets ready to ferry patient just on a phone call. Due to lack of medical facilities available in the remote villages, the villagers have to travel for more than 40 km everytime they need medical treatment. Unfortunately, there is no ambulance services available in these areas, Karimul Haque is the saviour and is quite famous in and around his village as Bike Wala Ambulance.

Why this service?

Till date he has taken more than 3,000 patients to the hospital on his bike. But why he is doing so or what makes him motivated to do so, he explained about a tragic incident that changed the course of his life. “It was dark night when my mother, Zufuran Nessa, suffered a heart attack. We were looking for an emergency medical help.Unfortunately we couldn’t manage to take her to the hospital located 45 km ahead of our village. I was shattered and felt myself worthless. I realized that the tragedy that happened with me, should not happen with anyone in my village.” With him few months of savings he purchased a bike and started a new phase of his determined life. He has been ferrying patients since 2013. Among many other remote areas Dhalabari village under the Malbazar region is not spare of the crisis. “Till date more than 3000 people from nearby 20 villages have called me for this service. Despite lack of enough money I am able to bear the cost of fuel and maintenance of the bike. I am doing this in memory of my mother,” said Karimul Haque.

Also Read: Karimul Haque drives an ambulance on bike


He feels that if one has courage and determination anything is possible. Biggest challenge he feels is spreading a word among nearby villagers and requirement of medical facilities. “People used to laugh at me when I started carrying patients on my bike. I have placed a board ‘bike-ambulance’ written on front of my bike and have acquired permission to use blue blinking light. I am slowly getting a space in heart of people that is what I want.” He explained further: “Apart from this basic medical facilities should be made available in near about of village. It is not possible for each and everyone to purchase vehicle, poor people of these villages have to be depend on government or other facilities.” He has sent several applications and met various government officers to have some medical facility in his area. But no one is paying serious attention on his efforts.

Karimul Haque past history & Bio-

Family life

He has two sons and two daughters. Both the daughters are married and his two sons are working as mobile mechanics. His family members are quite supportive of his work. Why he doesn’t purchase a car for better service he explained: “This region has a difficult terrain where travelling through car is not possible every time. Also, bike-ambulance has become popular and now people easily recognize me so that I don’t want to switch.”

Karimul Haque Address-

Contact for Bike-Ambulance, Karimul HaqueVillage: Dhalabari, Police Station: Malbazar, District: Jalpaiguri, Phone+91 9832571833

Balbir Singh Seechewal

Balbir Singh Seechewal: Man who can bring the dead river alive

sadhu or a baba clad in saffron cloths conjures up an image of someone totally devoted to religion and reciting mantras sitting under a huge banyan tree. But in Punjab, there is a baba named Balbir Singh Seechewal, who has transformed a dead river into a stream of water which has changed the life of people in nearby  villages.

Seechewal adopted Kaali Bein River because of it was considered sacred and was the only source of water for the villagers. He was joined by several others and it was just a matter of time and hard work, that this 160km long dead river started blooming again. The river is now a source of drinking water and used for irrigating the fields.

Who is he?

A resident of a village called Seechewal located about 40 km from Jalandhar city. From childhood, he enjoyed being in the lap of nature and enjoyed greenery. “After dropping out of college I started wearing saffron cloths. I found something inside me that was craving me to work for society,” said Baba Seechewal.

He was born on 2 February 1962 in the house of Chanan Kaur and Chanan Singh. He was an honest, hardworking and religious person from the childhood. He got his primary education from village school, but done bachelors from DAV College located in Nakodar (Jalandhar).

Balbir Singh came in contact with Sant Avtar Singh in 1981 and started following the sect called Nirmal Kuteya. This sect propagates oneness of God as Nirankar.

How he started

First when he noticed that people has to bear a lot of /problems while going through village passages, he built mounds in and around his village. This initiative gave him bit recognition; however, he got the kick and resolved another issue his own with lying down some roads in the area.

He said, “It is difficult for me to sit idle. If I know some issue is bothering people around me, and I have the potential to resolve it then I can’t keep myself in rest.” Few years later he found Kali Bein dead with pollution.

Highly polluted river

Once he attended a meeting organised by an NGO in Jalandhar, he got the idea right from there to restore highly polluted Kali Bein. The river was practically abused as six towns and many villages used to empty their wastes. The river travelled for more than 160 kilometers distance.

Why he started this project with Kali Bein, when there are many other big rivers which are polluted in Punjab. He explained: “When I learned that Guru Nanak Dev Ji had bathed here in Kali Bein during his way to Sultanpur Lodhi I was determined to restore its pristine glory. I felt that it is something that I was looking for from a long time. Many children, men and women from nearby villages also joined this mission soon.”

People from different villages started contributing too; like they offered their tractors to level the ground, water supply by irrigation pumps and labour by natives. “Cleaning of river was not possible overnight, it took many years. Today not just the river is cleaned, but the banks are beautified too and are covered with decorative plants. Everything beautiful we are seeing today is a result of common effort made by all.”


As every big project has to face many challenges, Kali Bein project had its share too: “Since, it was involved many villages and various geographical areas, we had to deal with everything. Biggest challenge was to control entry of sewage water from different villages. Mobilizing people, bringing government agencies to the spot and re-phasing entire sewer system of villages was another major task.”

Initially, Seechewal and volunteers tried to persuade people, but when villagers and government agencies turned deaf ears they started another big project, re-phasing of all sewer lines. They developed indigenous sewerage system that included laying of underground pipelines in villages and to start natural treatment system through deep layers of trenches.

It was a purposeful model because treated sewerage water was used to irrigate agriculture fields. People started calling this system “Seechewal sewerage model.”


Former president of India APJ Abdul Kalam motivated his efforts and mentioned his efforts in many of his speeches. He visited the village in 2006 and 2008. Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharati also visited the place and discussed with Seechewal whether she could replicate the model on Ganga.

Balbir Singh Seechewal is concerned about pollution of rivers in Pakistan and Bangladesh and wants them to study his treatment model. He also wishes to clean the other rivers in Punjab, Beas and Sutlej.