Differently-abled citizens tired of continued apathy of political parties

Tuesday, 18 January 2022 | Purnima Bisht | Dehradun

Stating that the successive governments in the state have been apathetic towards the differently-abled people, many persons with disabilities opined that the political parties hardly consider them a part of their manifestos ahead of the Assembly elections and keep them deprived of the basic amenities even after coming to power. They said that the parties never think beyond providing them monthly pensions during the elections rather than providing them with employment opportunities, sports scholarships and higher education among others. They also asserted that though the political parties claim to make the cities friendly for differently-abled people for years ahead of the elections, they are yet to witness this change in even a single city. A para-badminton athlete of the state, Neerja Goyal said that the political parties have always been apathetic towards the issues of differently-abled people.  She stated that the authorities are now making arrangements to help the differently-abled people to cast votes on February 14 when they literally go to public places on a daily basis without any basic assistance like a step ramp or wheel-chair ramp. She said, “There are several issues that need to be addressed but the government takes no initiative to even acknowledge them. There is no well equipped rehabilitation centre in the state for differently-abled people. Several parents including some senior citizens who were tested positive for Covid-19 in the first and second wave were struggling to take care of their teenagers and middle-aged children with disabilities as there was no such place where they could send them at that time. There are some organisations that helped them but there is no such arrangement in the government system.” She said that places like Chandigarh, Delhi and Bengaluru have made great improvements in addressing these basic issues and have come so far but Uttarakhand is yet to start its journey. She also said that there are several people with disabilities who want to be a sportsperson but the parties here never provide them with the support and encouragement to pursue their passion further in their life.

An 18-year-old differently-abled college student from Dehradun, Harsh Mohan Singh said that he expects the new government to support disabled people from their childhood. He said, “As per my experience, the school management and the government do not support a child with a disability as much as they should. When I needed a writer to write my answers during my board exams, my whole concern was to find one on time rather than focusing on my studies as there was no system of getting help from the school or the department concerned. When I got to know ahead of one of my exams that my writer had fractured his hand, I got a severe panic attack. On approaching the authorities concerned, I was told that it is not their headache to find me a writer for the exam.” Singh said that a disabled person has to go through several such hindrances throughout his or her life and the government should adopt a sensitive and smart approach to support them, especially those living in remote areas.

Another differently-abled person Varun Jain who is a businessman from Rishikesh said that the governments here fail to implement the schemes of the central government that provide employment opportunities to the people with disabilities here. “There are several positions reserved for the persons with disabilities in the government departments but they remain vacant in the state despite the availability of several eligible candidates. Also, there are hundreds of physically and mentally disabled people in the mountainous areas but no system to tend to their needs. There is no rehabilitation centre for them due to which, many leave them on the streets to die. I hope the new government looks into these issues rather than remaining apathetic to these issues like the past governments.”

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