Madurai

Lockdown leaves a person with disability with no income, Madurai district administration helps

Mr. Raja had an accident around 15 years ago that left him with a spinal cord injury

Mr. Raja had an accident around 15 years ago that left him with a spinal cord injury   | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

With the extension of COVID-19 lockdown, life has become extremely difficult for J.G. Raja, a person with a disability and his family, who live in Koodal Nagar in Madurai.

The lockdown has robbed Mr. Raja of his livelihood -- he used to eke out a living by taking welding work. His wife, who is a tailor, has also not been able to earn. With six children to feed -- three girls and boys each, the couple has been struggling for the past three months.

Their situation worsened when they were unable to pay their house rent and were asked to vacate their house. “It was on the morning of July 8 when we felt completely helpless and petitioned the District Collector, seeking help,” says Mr. Raja.

Following this, the district administration intervened and the house owners were asked to provide an extension of three months to repay the pending rent. “Based on the Collector’s order, rice, oil and wheat flour were also provided to the family,” says M. Gopalakrishnan, secretary, District Red Cross Society, that facilitated this.

Due to an accident that occurred 15 years ago, Mr. Raja suffered an injury to his spinal cord, making it difficult for him to walk without any support. He says that business orders gradually started declining since last December and there has been no order for the past three months. “Recently, a client from Rameswaram placed an order, but then cancelled it later fearing that I have to travel from Madurai, which has become a COVID-19 hotspot,” he adds.

With the closure of schools, his wife also did not get orders to stitch churidars or blouses for teachers. With no source of income, the family was unable to pay their rent for the past three months. “We understood the plight of the owners when they asked us to vacate. But we could not afford to pay a huge sum of money as advance to the owner of a new house,” says Mr. Raja. “We are now making arrangements to get help and move out to a new house in two month’s time,” he adds.

Suresh Fedrick Clement, Madurai North Tahsildar, who intervened in the issue, says that both the tenants as well as the house owners have been affected due to the lockdown. “While Mr. Raja had no income, the house owners were also dependent on the rent. On humanitarian grounds, they had given the family extensions to pay their rent. The lockdown has affected every family,” he notes.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 12:30:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/lockdown-leaves-a-person-with-disability-with-no-income-madurai-district-administration-helps/article32050948.ece

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