In a bid to make physically challenged persons more self-reliant and to improve their mobility, the district panchayat will shortly distribute tri-wheeler motorcycles free of cost to as many as 215 eligible persons residing in the 73 grama panchayats of Thiruvananthapuram district.

The scheme, funded by the district panchayat, is being rolled out in association with the Social Welfare Department and the public sector undertaking Keltron.

Identification of beneficiaries has started and in a few days from now the district panchayat will conduct medical camps at Peroorkada, Neyattinkara, Chirayinkeezhu and Nedumangadu to finalise the list. Specialists drawn from government hospitals will conduct medical check-ups to shortlist applicants who qualify as per the norms prescribed by the district panchayat.

Persons with more than 40 per cent disability, but can move their hands and having no impairment to their eyes and ears, would only be eligible for the benefit, a representative of the district panchayat told The Hindu. Of the total sum of around Rs.1.5 crore allocated in the current budget for carrying out various welfare measures for the physically challenged, around Rs.1.01 crore would be spend for distribution of tri-wheeler motorcycles. The cost of one vehicle would be around Rs.54, 000, the representative said.

In the previous financial year, as many as 116 beneficiaries, including 22 women, were given motorcycles. The motorcycles to be distributed this year would be modified versions. “There were few complaints about the motorcycles and those issues have been addressed. The motorised bikes are easy to operate,” the representative added.