It says dedication always takes you to the purity of work and it has been seen in the Kolhe’s sacrifice.
The Padma awardee Shri to Dr Ravindra Kolhe, the ‘Re1 doctor’ from Bairagarh village in Melghat tribal belt came as a pleasant surprise to him on Friday. He has dedicated the award to the people of Melghat as he says without them he would not have reached this stage as a doctor anywhere else.
The award, given jointly to Dr Kolhe and wife Smita Kolhe (homoeopath), is a result of 34 years of dedicated, untiring and incomparable work for poor tribals of Melghat. It is recognition for the hard work and service to the downtrodden. After doing his MBBS from GMCH Nagpur, Dr Kolhe worked at Bairagarh for one and half years before coming back to Nagpur to do his MD in preventive and social medicine. After that he settled in Bairagarh in 1985.
Since then it has been an unending job for Kolhes who have done everything to provide healthcare to tribals. They even did surgeries when there were no facilities. “Initially, we would walk about 40 km from the bus station. But after 15 years, the bus started coming to our hospital. It is the people of Melghat who have brought this honour to me. Had they not accepted me, I would have been nowhere,” he told TOI when the newspaper conveyed him the news of award.
Dr Kolhe still charges just Rs 2 per patient as fees. He says Baba Amte was his ideal. “I was lucky to meet very good people like Shivajirao Patwardhan of Tapovan who motivated me to work for the people,” he said. It was his work on the tribals that brought the malnutrition issue to light many years back.
His work is no longer limited to medicine. It encompasses everything from basic development like road, water, electricity, healthcare services. Dr Kolhe says he wants the people in Melghat to be able to earn decent money for their healthy survival.
Smita Kolhe from Mahal in Nagpur has been working with her husband all these years and has left no stone unturned to provide all basic health services to the people of Melghat. Their elder son Rohit is an agriculture graduate and a farmer while the other son Ram is doing MBBS.