Mohatwar Nisha, a 55-year-old woman who had suffered major burn injuries, died today as the ambulance she was in stood still in the middle of a massive traffic jam on the arterial 8 km long Gandhi Setu bridge, that connects north Bihar to capital Patna.
The jam was caused by an agitation by the Bihar Home Guard, who had called a bandh across Bihar today. For miles vehicles stood still, among them jam for miles on the road to the bridge.
Ms Nisha, who was in critical condition after suffering burn injuries at her home in Siwan last night, was being rushed to the Patna Medical College Hospital, a distance of about 150 km.
By the time the ambulance inched up to the bridge, Ms Nisha had already died.
Parts of the Gandhi Setu are under repair, and have been closed to traffic for over a year now. This leads to big traffic snarls almost daily on the bridge, with vehicles sometimes stuck for hours. The agitation made things much worse.
Some other ambulances managed to make it to Patna after massive delays.
The Home Guard is an auxiliary force to the police and in Bihar, they are ironically used for traffic services and routine patrols.
There are about 50,000 home guards in Bihar and for the last year they have been demanding an increase in their daily wage allowance and also enhanced retirement benefits. They have been on indefinite strike for the last week and had called for a bandh today.