An organisation working for the differently-abled has urged the State Government to give wider representation for them on the welfare board for the disabled.

Surya Nagappan, Promoter, State-level Disabled People's Organisation, says that barring a person each from Tirunelveli and Madurai, all the persons the State Government has nominated to the welfare board are from Chennai. The government last week reconstituted the board.

To function in an efficient manner, any organisation has to reflect reality and the social welfare board is no exception. It has to have members from all parts of the State.

Mr. Nagappan says this cannot be any truer because Chennai has fewer persons with disabilities. Quoting statistics, he says the State capital has only 96,000 persons, whereas Coimbatore has 1.14 lakh (based on 2001 census).

However, no differently-abled from the city has made it to the board. That being the case, how will the challenged people in the city air their grievances effectively and the government redress the same, he asks.

The absence of representation from other parts of the State on the board has led to a decrease in the allotment of Central and State Government funds for organisations in these areas, he says and alleges those in Chennai are garnering 90 per cent of the funds meant for persons with disabilities.

The social activist wants the board to function in a better way as well. There was hardly a protest or murmur from the board when the Railways reclassified as reserved the compartment meant for challenged persons, he says and adds that if the board had initiated action the Railways could have reversed the decision to re-allot the berths or seats. The next demand of the organisation is direct employment for the challenged persons who have registered with various employment offices in the State.

Just as the government goes in for direct recruitment based on seniority for teachers and a few others posts, it should extend the same for the differently-abled.

How long can the persons with disabilities wait for the government to reserve seats and conduct examinations for the same, Mr. Nagappan asks. The government must provide around 9,000 seats for the challenged people based on the three per cent reservation rule, he points out.

Keywords: Welfare Board

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