Visually-challenged persons demand free smartphones

They allege discrimination in distribution

February 15, 2021 07:15 pm | Updated 07:16 pm IST - MADURAI

Visually-challenged persons from Sakkimangalam at the Collectorate in Madurai on Monday.

Visually-challenged persons from Sakkimangalam at the Collectorate in Madurai on Monday.

A group of visually-challenged persons from Sakkimangalam on Monday complained that they were not given smartphones by the district administration.

The State government proposed to give smart mobile phones to differently abled persons to enable them to communicate with others using sign language through video-calling facility and for higher education purpose.

The free smartphones with special software to guide them through voice-assistance would be of great benefit to visually challenged persons, they said and worried about being left out. “We came to the Collectorate seeking the phones on Friday. After waiting under hot sun from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. we were told that they would again start distribution upon getting fresh stocks,” said P. Subbuthai (42), a woman who makes a living by selling agarbathis, pens and pencils.

“We believed their words that they had run out of stock, but they gave the phones to some others the very next day,” she alleged.

Her husband A. Pitchai was visually challenged. The couple would earn hardly ₹200 to ₹300 a day by going around the city and sometimes to other districts, selling small articles. “I go out only for three days a week as I have to take care of my two children,” she said.

On Monday, the differently abled people were not allowed to give a petition to the Collector. “Police denied us permission and instead took us to the Revenue Divisional Officer, Madurai. He has promised to get fresh stocks from Chennai,” Ms. Subbuthai said.

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