`State Government neglecting welfare of the disabled'

Staff Correspondent

Madikeri: The State Government has failed to provide special schemes for the benefit of persons with disabilities in the last six years, D.K. Suresh Kumar, president of the Karnataka State Disabled Parishat, said here on Saturday.

Addressing a gathering here to commemorate World Disabled Day, Mr. Kumar accused the State Government of not making efforts to secure Central grants meant for the welfare of the disabled. The Government had assured that "Antyodaya" scheme providing for ration cards for people with disabilities will commence from November 1, but to no avail. Food Minister H.Y. Mahadev Prasad, recently said that the scheme would become operational from January 1 next. Under the Antyodaya scheme, a person with disability will get 10 kg of rice free every month.

Mr. Kumar urged the Government to increase the income limit of Rs. 6,000 to determine a beneficiary under the Antyodaya scheme. The State Government should give special grants to institutions working for the disabled, he said. A website was launched recently in Bangalore, first in the country, exclusively for people with disabilities, he said.

He urged the district administration to conduct "Angavikalara adalat" regularly to solve the problems faced by people with disabilities. Free bus passes to those who have lost both limbs or eyes should be given covering a period of three years, he said. The Government should honour its commitment by providing five per cent reservation to the disabled in Government jobs.

The programme was earlier inaugurated by Puja, a student from the Opportunity Section of the Kodagu Vidyalaya. Students from the institution presented cultural programmes on the occasion.

Shivanna, District Statistical Officer, said there are over three crore persons with various forms of disability in the country, including 25 lakh in the State. Their number in Kodagu exceeded 16,000. Of this, only around 3,000 persons receive pension. The Government should support people with disabilities by providing them with free education, scholarships, books and provide every individual with monthly pension, he said.

Erappa of the Disabled Welfare Association spoke. V. Doreswamy, Deputy Director of the Department of Women and Child Welfare, welcomed the gathering.