World Disabled Day marked by cultural programmes and distribution of welfare assistance
Annual event provides participants an opportunity to interact with officials
It is also a forum where physically-handicapped can air their grievances
Udhagamandalam: For hundreds of physically-challenged men, women and children in various parts of the Nilgiris, all roads in this hill station on Wednesday led to the J.S.S. Auditorium where arrangements had been made by the District Disabled Rehabilitation Centre to observe in a fitting manner the World Disabled Day.
Undeterred by the inclement weather many travelled from remote parts of the district to participate in the celebrations which were marked by cultural programmes, a magic show and distribution of welfare assistance.
Speaking to The Hindu some of the participants said that they looked forward to the annual event as it provided an opportunity to strengthen bonds and interact with officials in charge of their welfare.
It was also a forum where they could air their grievances.
Representatives of the Federation for the rehabilitation of the disabled said that the district administration should conduct grievances redressal programmes exclusively for physically challenged persons once in three months.
They said that at least half an hour should be set aside for them.
Pointing out that the offices which they had to visit frequently like the Collectorate, the district rehabilitation office and the social welfare office were located in different parts of the town, they said that owing to the hilly terrain they found it very difficult to move from one place to another.
They wanted the social welfare office and the rehabilitation office to be located at a convenient place.
Addressing a function organised as part of the celebrations, the Udhagamandalam MLA B.Gopalan said that physically challenged persons should not allow their disabilities to impede their progress.
Since many of the physically-challenged persons cannot move about by themselves, the government would be urged to issue two free bus passes to them.
The District Revenue Officer, T.Abraham, who presided, said that self confidence should be the motto of the physically-challenged.
He pointed out that many with disabilities had risen to great heights.
The Revenue Divisional Officer, K.Tharpagaraj urged the physically-challenged persons to make optimum use of the schemes evolved by the government for their benefit.
Lead Bank Officer T.Palanisamy and the Principal, J.S.S.College of Pharmacy K.Ilango also spoke.
The District Rehabilitation Officer C.Chelladurai welcomed the gathering.