‘Government yet to fulfil many constitutional obligations to the disabled'

It was a day when the hearing impaired gathered at action-filled celebrations of the 53rd International Day of the Deaf.

On Sunday evening, from those working in public sector undertakings to the self-employed, gathered at the Technical Training Centre for the Deaf and raised issues pertaining to the hearing impaired.

Members of the Association of the Deaf were not happy the way in which the State Government was responding to the needs and welfare of the hearing impaired as it is yet to fulfil many of its constitutional obligations towards disabled persons.

A. Ganesh Rao, association general secretary and an employee of BEML Limited, narrating through sign language, explained issues pertaining to the hearing impaired to the State Commissioner for Disabilities K.V. Rajanna.

A ministry in the Union Government for persons with all types of disabilities and a department at the State-level have been the primary demand of the members.

They felt that the issues pertaining to the disabled should be immediately separated from the Department of Women and Child Development as the present set-up does not give sufficient attention to the issues related to disabilities.

ENT unit of a particular government hospital should be designated to issue certificate of deafness; jobs for the hearing impaired in government departments, public and private sector companies; oral and sign language for hearing impaired in all schools in the State; appointment of hearing impaired teacher or teachers knowing sign language in all schools from pre-school level to class four, are among the other demands of the association.

The Commissioner was also told that completely hearing impaired persons were not getting jobs as some private and public sector companies prefer only partially hearing impaired persons.

Mr. Rajanna, who assumed the post about a month ago, said his first priority is to ensure that all possible jobs for the disabled are identified in every department of the government as this exercise is pending for a long.

Identifying the jobs that the disabled can do will lead to appointment of eligible persons to such posts, he added.Issues of the persons with disabilities do not get priority in the Government, said Mr. Rajanna while supporting the demand of a ministry and department for persons with disabilities and senior citizens, who together form about 12 per cent of the country's population.

Williams, trustee of the centre, and T.V. Manohar, president of the association, were present.

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