Special Correspondent

‘Government has plans to open schools for such children in all districts’

SHIMOGA: Minister for Energy K.S. Eshwarappa said on Sunday that the demand for enhancing the pension being given to children with 75 per cent mental retardation would be considered.

Speaking after inaugurating a physiotherapy centre at Ashakirana, a residential school for mentally challenged children here being sponsored by the Rotary 75th Endowment Fund and the Shimoga Rotary Club, he said that there was a demand to increase the pension being given to mentally challenged children to Rs. 1,000.

He said that a decision in this regard would be taken after discussing the matter with the authorities concerned.

The State Government proposed to open schools for mentally challenged children in all districts. Such schools were functioning only in four districts of the State. He would speak to the Health Minister in this regard, Mr. Eshwarappa said.

He urged voluntary organisations to help the institutions working towards the cause of mentally challenged children. Appreciating the service being rendered by Ashakiran, Mr. Eshwarappa said that it had become the model for others.

The former chairman of the Malnad Area Development Board A.S. Padmanabh Bhat said that working for the cause of mentally challenged children was like a service to the god.

Mr. Padmanabh was instrumental in releasing Rs. 2 lakh from MADB to build the physiotherapy centre on the Ashakiran premises. A Rotary club member donated Rs. 1 lakh towards purchasing of equipment for the centre.

K.A. Ashok Pai, psychiatrist and president of Ashakiran, said that the school was catering to the needs of moderate and profoundly retarded children from poor families in rural areas of the Malnad region.

Dr. Pai referred to the delay in release of annual grant by the Government which had made it difficult for the management to run the school. Funds were being raised through donations towards the expenditure incurred by the school, he said.

President of Rotary’s 75th Endowment Fund M. Venugopal presided over the function.

President of the Shimoga Rotary Club Ajitkumar Adya welcomed the gathering. Secretary of Ashakiran A. Manjunath proposed a vote of thanks.

Mr. Bhat was honoured on the occasion.