Ever since he watched his mother die after failing to go to a hospital in the absence of an ambulance, 52-year-old Karimul Haq in Jalpaiguri district's Malbazar sub-division has used his motorcycle to take patients to medical facilities.
His noble efforts have been rewarded by the Union government as he has been chosen for a Padmashree award this year, Malbazar bloc sub-divisional officer Jyotirmoy Tanti said.
Pained by his mother's death 10 years ago, Karimul had resolved not to allow his fellow-villagers suffer the same ordeal and started transporting poor patients from his village and surrounding areas on his 'bike ambulance', as he named it.
Karimul said that he had on Wednesday received a phone call from the Union Home Ministry that he had been awarded this year's Padmashree.
According to the SDO, at least 3,500 to 4,000 patients have benefitted from his 24-hour free service at his village and surrounding areas.