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Uttarakhands first female folk singer fails to get chopper, dies in hospital

Statesman News Service | Dehradun |

Uttarakhand’s iconic female folk singer Kabutri Devi died at Pithoragarh on Saturday. The folk artist, who sung over one hundred songs for All India Radio, was admitted in the district hospital and was waiting for helicopter since Friday- to be air lifted for advanced medical care.

Kabutri and her family members waiting for the aircraft at the helipad on Saturday and when the health of the artist began deteriorating and there was no sight of the chopper, Kabutri was rushed back to hospital.

The 73-year-old artist, a recipient of the President award, died in the hospital. The incident sparked anger among cultural artists and they staged demonstration in at the district hospital in Pithoragarh on Saturday.

Cultural artist Hemraj Bisht of Navodya Parvatiya Kala Kendra group said, “The death took place due to negligence. Had Kabutri received chopper support on time we could have saved her life. Today I was at the helipad and we waited from 7.15 am to 9 am and we were told due to bad weather, the helicopter had returned from Pauri and will reach Pithoragarh after two hours.”

Kabutri Devi’s heath began to fall at the Pithoragarh helipad and she was taken to the district hospital. Suffering from severe heart problem, the folk singer was provided immediate medical care. But, the effort failed and the female singer breathed her last at 10.25 am.

The Pithoragarh district administration was making efforts to air lift the ailing folk singer to Haldwani (Nainital) for better medical care. Kabutri Devi was admitted at the district hospital on Thursday night. The first effort to get helicopter was made on Friday. Even late evening time was fixed but the helicopter never came. The chopper ditched on Saturday, due to claimed bad weather. But, clear weather prevai led in Pithoragarh on Saturday.

Expressing pain over the death, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “Saddened by the death of first female folk singer of Uttarakhand Kabutri Devi. She gave outstanding contribution to hill folk.”

Kabutri Devi was described as Teejan Bai of Uttarakhand. She began singing in the 70s, when not many hill women were keen on taking folk singing as career.

From a remote village to recording studio, the journey of Kabutri Devi was no less than a fairy tale. He song ‘Pahado ke thando pani (chilled water of the hills) remains one of all time classics of hill folk.

Kabutri nurtured the hill folk and after remaining associated with All India Radio Najibabad and Lucknow for a decade, she decided to end singing in 80s. After withdrawing from folk signing, Kabutri Devi led a low profile life. She used to stay with her daughter Hema Devi. The last rites of the folk singer was performed at Pithoragarh on Saturday