Succour for the handicapped

The handicapped in our country do not receive desired attention and treatment from the society. This stands in direct contrast to what we see in foreign countries. The government is not sensitive either. All that we find is that on a few seats in a public bus is written, “reserved for handicaps”. Able-bodied persons ignoring the notification occupy even these reserved seats. Our insensitivity towards the handicapped speaks of our backwardness.
There are various categories of physically handicapped persons, like people with dysfunctional limbs, polio-stricken people, people devoid of sight and people deaf and dumb. They are all part of society and it is the society as well as the state that should take care of them. We are talking about the deaf and the dumb. There is a large number of such people, young boys and girls and older ones of both genders in the State. No study has been made by any organization into their case and no reliable data is available regarding their number, gender, condition of living and care-taking etc. There is no institutional arrangement for taking care of them or putting their creative talent to use. They are generally intelligent persons but for want of proper care and canalizing, their life becomes a burden for them. It is very unfortunate.
In advanced countries, much research has been done of how to make the life of the deaf and the dumb comfortable for them so that they have not to depend on others. They are physically capable of doing work and moving freely from place to place. But in our State, we have seen that they are exploited and their human rights are violated. This is because the deaf and the dumb cannot seek justice on their own and others show little or no interest in their welfare. We learn that there is a large number of such persons, young and old, in the State. As such we would like to draw the attention of Social Welfare Department towards the need of rehabilitating the deaf and dumb persons of the State. First of all the Government should make a survey of the deaf/dumb people and register them district-wise. Their full particulars should be enlisted. The second thing to do is that in two capital cities of the State, institutions for helping and guiding the deaf and dumb should be set up where experts train them in various skills that would help them earn their living without being exploited. This could be sort of self-employment with skill. We know the impaired people have great aptitude for picking up the skills. They should also be awarded certificates indicating that they have attained special skills so that they are able to find employment. Thirdly, once a deaf and dumb person, registered with the institution is imparted skill, which can help him with self-employment potential, he should be provided soft loan by the banks after due verification that enables him or her to start independent enterprise to work for earning and living independent life. Apart from this the Government can do them some favour by reserving some modules of earning for them. They can be allotted small shops in a Government shopping complex; they can be allotted small sites with commercial advantage; they can be trained and employed as male or female nurses in dispensaries and hospitals, they can be trained to become tourist guides and they can also become vendors of tickets for sports and entertainment events. In short, the government needs to bring the issue under consideration and provide facilities to the handicapped people and thus make them useful to society. At present, there is only one NGO named J&K Samaj Kalyan Kendra in Jammu that has shown some concern about this category of handicapped persons. The Social Welfare Department should invite this NGO for consultation and sharing experience in the field of taking care of the deaf and dumb persons in the state and devise a strategy of how succour can be brought to them to make them live independent and respectful life as good citizens. A delegation of deaf and dumb persons recently called on the Chief Secretary and requested him that the Government take initiative of providing them succour. We hope the Chief Secretary will take initiative in this regard and not disappoint the handicapped persons.

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