63-year-old widow in Odisha’s Cuttack wills her house, jewellery to loyal rickshaw-puller

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A 63-year-old widow in Cuttack city of Odisha has made a will bestowing her landed properties, including the house where she lives in the name of a rickshaw-puller who has been loyally serving her family for the last 25 years.

Minati Patnaik of Sutahat Christiansahi area of Cuttack on Friday willed her three-storeyed pucca house and all her belongings and her gold ornaments worth more than a crore to the family of Budha Samal, a 53-year-old man who makes a living out of pulling a rickshaw in the meandering bylanes of the city.

“After losing my husband and daughter in quick succession last year, I am all alone and waiting for death. I have always wanted to donate to a poor family and decided to donate everything to Budha and his family who are living in a slum. Budha has done so much for me and my family over the last 25 years and I am really grateful to him. I wanted him to have a shelter of his own,” said Minati.

Minati had lost her 70-year-old husband Krushna Kumar Patnaik, a businessman, last year when the latter developed a tumour which turned cancerous. Six months later, her 31-year-old daughter Komal Kumari was injured while lighting an oil lamp and had a cardiac arrest soon after. Disconsolate after the twin deaths, Minati lost her desire to live and skipped her meals when Budha made her lunch and dinner. From taking her to the hospital or looking after her needs, Budha and his family devoted themselves to serving the widow in every possible way.

Minati said her family has always felt safe with the rickshaw puller since the last 25 years. “When my daughter was in school, Budha would take her and bring her back. My husband always trusted him. After my daughter’s death, neither my in-laws nor anyone from my parental family called me to inquire about my health or responded to my calls. It was for the last 25 years that Budha and his family stood by me. They have always given me respect and taken care of my family,” she said.

The rickshaw-puller said that he was taken by surprise when Minati told him about her decision to will her property. “I had never dreamt of the property. But I always made it a point to ensure that my family always looked after Minati after her husband died. We will continue to look after her as long as she is alive,” said Budha, whose family includes his wife, three children, two sons and a daughter and his parents.

In 2018, a 60-year-old businessman of Koraput district living in a rented home had donated over 2.3 acres of land among 250 landless people to fulfil his promise that he made to himself. Muguda Suryanarayan Achary, who ran a metal fabrication unit in Jeypore town of Koraput, became the talk of the town when it was revealed that he had been donating patches of land to destitute for over a decade.

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