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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Huge response to project 'Sahas' : Varanasi

When the Varanasi police finalised the plan with the help of an NGO to take guardianship of mentally challenged children, they would never have imagined for a huge response from the people, which was evident at Rohania police station on Saturday when ADG (law and order) Arun Kumar reached there to inaugurate the project named as Sahas.

Hundreds of people had turned up at Rohania police station with their wards, which were mentally or physically challenged.

As a part of community policing, which is done by the police of every district to come close to society and earn confidence of people by becoming familiar, the Varanasi police had recently planned to launch a project for mentally challenged children.

The concept of this project was developed by circle officer (Sadar) Rahul Kumar by keeping problems like killing of such children to end their claim on property, trafficking for different reasons and purposes.

The police also planned for ensuring availability of certificates of ailment for each mentally retarded child from chief medical officer, benefits of the schemes of ministry of disability affairs, government of India, ARUNIM national trust, their training and counseling with the help of De Tulsi of Deva International Society for Child Care, who is also one of the directors of Association for Rehabilitation under National Trust Initiative of Marketing (ARUNIM national trust) of ministry of disability affairs, government of India.

The cops named this project as 'Sahas'. When the police had planned to invite ADG (law & order) to inaugurate this project, they had a list of about 300 mentally challenged children dwelling in villages of Rohania, Jansa and Lohta police stations.

But, when day of inauguration came, the figure of children as well as mentally challenged adults crossed the mark of 370. Rahul said that the department had not imagined for such a huge response. The huge crowd made the day hectic for Tulsi and his team but he was satisfied with his decision to which he termed as his 'pagalpan' (craziness) done after a carrier of 30 years as psychiatrist.

Before the inaugural address, Kumar preferred to see the process to detect the problems of mentally challenged children, counseling and also the gallery where the handicraft products prepared by such children was displayed.

Kumar praised the concept by saying that during the service of police the cops face many problems and challenges but despite seeing mentally challenged people in routine life he had never imagined that police can also do anything for them.

He said that if this project proves successful in Varanasi, the cops in other districts can be advised to adopt this programme as community policing.

SSP AK Mishra promised to make such a model of this project which will help it to continue even in the case of transfer of existing police officers in the district.

Mishra said that camps will be organised at all police stations. IG GL Meena and DIG A Satish Ganesh also addressed the function.

Source : TOI , 29th June 2013

He hopes big for the differently-abled : Thiruvanthapuram

George K Thomas

                                                                       George K Thomas


Wheelchair-bound George K. Thomas, 31, with spine injured in a road accident eight years ago, is undergoing a seven-month residential programme at Kanthari International at Vellayani to become a social innovator/entrepreneur. His  dream is to provide electric wheelchairs to physically-challenged and to make the country wheelchair- friendly.
It was after surpassing five hurdles in the form of various interviews that Thomas was able to join the entrepreneurship programme at Kanthari International founded by a German woman, Sabriye Tenberken and her partner and a Dutch ‘social engineer’ and co-founder of Braille Without Borders, Paul Kronenberg. Thomas, who runs an NGO, ‘Prayukti,’ to help victims of road accidents, has so far been dependent on his parents for moving around in his wheelchair. 
“But since coming here at Kanthari, I have realised that I have become more self-reliant. Attending classes along with people belonging to the margins and that too among 16 different nationalities has improved my morale by leaps and bounds,”  said Thomas who has designed a ramp as part of his entrepreneurship programme. 
Thomas claims that his design will enable people like him to board the Venad bus of KSRTC without folding the wheel chair. He and his classmates have come up with a documentary highlighting their individual projects which will be released in the coming days.
Thomas had suffered severe damage to his spinal cord when his motor bike collided with an autorickshaw  close to his home in Nalanchira, Thiruvananthapuram. 
“There was just a slight cut on my lower lip. But little did I realise that I will be a paraplegic when the ‘good Samaritans’ picked me in all fours which damaged my spinal cord permanently,”  said Thomas, which shows how much ignorant the public are when lifting an accident victim.

Source : Deccan Chronicle , 30th June 2013

Charkha Awards to be presented on Monday : Bangalore

Charkha National Development Communication Network has announced its Charkha Awards for Excellence in Development Journalism (Kannada) for 2012 to be presented to journalists/writers for their articles on development issues.

The award will be presented to the recipients on July 1 by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj at a function at Raj Bhavan here.

Those who are selected for the award categories are: Sheela D’Souza (Child Rights); Ravikumar Bhadravathi (Disability); M.J. Rajeev Gowda Melur (Education); Sanjay Gubbi (Environment); Uma Ananth (General); Bharathi Hegde (HIV/AIDS); and S.S. Mohan Kumar (Water).

The Dharwad-based Centre for Agriculture Media (CAM) has bagged the Mentor Award for ‘Encouragement to Development Journalism’ for its activities supporting agriculture journalism.
Hema Prasanna, Deputy Director of Communication for Development and Learning, told presspersons here on Thursday that a selection committee chose the recipients.

She said that the individual award carries a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 and a citation, the Mentor award carries a citation.

Source : The Hindu , 29th June 2013

Disabled say new format not so friendly : New Delhi

The road to Delhi University has become tougher for students with disabilities, as extraordinarily high cut-offs and the new decentralised mode of admissions has left them with little hope of pursuing a subject of their choice.

The cut-offs for PWD category has followed the trend for those of the general category - at Hindu College it is 96-99 per cent for Commerce and 94.75-97 for English. Similarly, in science courses, Venkateswara's cut-off for Physics is 95 per cent, while Hansraj has kept 93.75 per cent for Mathematics.
Jatin, a visually challenged student who wants to pursue BCom (H) from Venkateswara College, is not getting any college based on the first list, but is hopeful of clearing Shaheed Bhagat Singh in the second list.
Another visually challenged student, Mayank Agarwal who scored 82 per cent in Class XII, said: "I wanted to pursue English (H), but am only getting Hindi (H)."

The new decentralised mode of registrations too has posed a problem for these students. Till last year, DU had a centralised system, wherein these students filled out admission forms, indicating their preferred subjects and colleges. Depending on those preferences and vacancies at colleges, the university would direct them to colleges.

This year, colleges have declared separate cut-offs for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) category and students have to go to individual colleges to secure admissions. Most students were not aware about this change. " I got to know about it from a friend just a couple of days back," Mayank said.

"I don't mind running around as long as someone gives me the answers, but the trouble is no one does. They keep directing you from one office to another," Jatin said. "I have been to five colleges, but I still don't know which documents to carry for admission."

Before the admission season began, all colleges had been given a set of guidelines for the PWD category. One of the guidelines included setting up of a special help desk for PWD candidates, but Mayank claimed not a lot of colleges were following the directive.

Source : The Indian Express , 30th June 2013

12th plan special focus on disability


The Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kumari Selja Friday declared that the Twelfth Five Year Plan which earmarks a total allocation to the tune of Rs.3000 crore, envisages the setting up of a National Center for Universal Design, establishment of Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) and setting up of Braille printing presses across various states of India.


"It also proposes to undertake the exercise of harmonizing all the relevant domestic laws (including the mainstream laws) and policies with the UNCRPD," Selja said.

Selja on Friday inaugurated the 12th National Meeting of the State Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities to review implementation of PwD Act, here.

The Minister in her address said that a meeting of this kind provides an important forum for exchanging views and experiences. The meeting will also help promote a culture of shared learning and understanding of critical issues around implementation of the PwD Act, 1995.

The Minister expressed satisfaction that the disability rights discourse is now getting institutionalized in the larger legal and policy framework of India.

She said, "The ratification of the UNCRPD and the setting up of a dedicated Department of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, are glaring illustrations of the government’s commitment towards persons with disabilities."

"The government is also working on replacing the old PwD Act of 1995 for providing more respect to individual dignity and protecting fundamental freedoms of PwDs."

"The proposed 'Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill' contains elaborate and comprehensive provisions which are in harmony with the UNCRPD. The Bill will be a distinct improvement on the existing PwD Act, 1995."

She added that the absence of full-time Commissioners with independent charge in many states, ineffective functioning of state Coordination and Executive Committees and inadequacy of human and material resources for the state Commissioners are amongst major areas of concern.

The Minister said and requested the state government’s to have a dedicated Department to oversee the disability issues so that the State Commissioners can interact and coordinate well.

She urged urgent initiatives to ensure barrier free environment to persons with disabilities must be initiated without any further loss of time and States should take advantage of the Ministry’s SIPDA scheme.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Department of Social Justice & Empowerment, Sudhir Bhargava complimented Chandigarh, Jharkhand and Tripura for issuing disability certificates to 100 percent persons with disabilities in their respective States/UT and also requested the Commissioners of Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Nagaland, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli where less than 20 percent persons with disabilities have been issued disability certificates, to prevail upon the concerned department to take up this matter on a campaign mode and cover all persons with disabilities.

The Secretary added that the role of Commissioners is crucial for securing the cooperation of and the coordination among various departments of the state governments.

Source : India Blooms , 28th June 2013

Aid distributed to differently abled students : Imphal

The SSA Thoubal Block has today distributed several items to the differently abled students of the district during an inclusive education programme at the Wangbal Community Hall.

The function was attended by Kh Amuba Singh DI, ZEO SSA Thoubal, H Priyokumar Singh ZEO Zone III and Kh Sharat Singh Headmaster of Sangaiyumphal High School as the chief guest, president and guest of honour respectively.

It notable that 20 hearing aids, 15 Braille slates, 15 White Cane, 39 Wheel Chairs, 21 Tricycles and 68 Axilla Crutch (A/C) were distributed to the students.

During the function, Ch Binodini Devi, program coordinator, IE SSA Thobal Block said that the RTE covers the provision of all learning aids to the differently abled children.

She elaborated that under this Act, learning material and aide are provided to them free of cost and further appealed to all parents of differently abled children to come forward instead of hiding the children to take advantages of RTE so as to make the differently abled children educated persons.

Kh Amuba Singh said that if people are looking at the pages of history, it is found that many differently abled had done marvelous works thereby making them famous personality because of their consistency and hard working.

He further said that parents should not be disheartened for their differently abled children as it is the time when the government is ready for all possible help for them.

While addressing his presidential speech, DI Priyokumar mentioned that all the differently abled students should be admitted free of cost whether it is government or private schools and he further informed the gathering that actions will be taken against anyone found taking money to admit such students.

Source : Kangla online , 29th June 2013

Disabled engineer's long wait for accident compensation over : Madurai

A civil engineer, who became physically handicapped in a road accident in 1998, can now get hold of the compensation awarded to him by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Palani, 12 years back. His wait for the pay gets over as Madras high court upheld the tribunal's award of July 23, 2001 to grant Rs 38.5 lakh compensation after rejecting an appeal filed by the insurer.

The insurance claim ensued after T R Senthil Raj, who was riding pillion on a bike, was grievously injured in a road accident on October 31, 1998. His left leg had to be amputated and had to be hospitalised for nearly two years as his other leg had a compound fracture. Doctors fixed his disability at 75%. "He has suffered amputation and his other leg also has not been spared in the road accident. Practically, the BE (civil) graduate has become a wreck. There is colossal loss to his body," the judge said while delivering the order on June 17.

Compounding Senthil's tragedy, his claim for insurance payout took a long while as the Oriental Insurance Company appealed against the tribunal order in 2002. After ten years of hearing, the division bench of Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass dismissed the appeal. Justifying the award passed by the tribunal, Justice Devadass observed said that in the facts and circumstances of this case, the compensation awarded by the Tribunal is not excessive, but fair, reasonable and equitable.

The insurer has been ordered to pay 9% interest per annum since the original tribunal award. "Considering the market lending rate, high inflation and spiraling prices, 9% interest per annum is not excessive, but, reasonable," the order said.

Source : TOI , 30th June 2013

Telepsychiatry helps mental health care reach remote areas : Chandigarh

By helping to treat more than 1,000 mentally disturbed patients in remote areas of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, 'Telepsychiatry', a computer based system prepared by experts of mental health, is emerging as an effective substitute of psychiatrists in far-fetched areas.

In India, there are only 0.2 psychiatrists per every one lakh people, which shows that there is an acute shortage of psychiatrists. Telepsychistry has helped to fill the gap between the demand and availability of mental health services in remote areas.

Dr Savita Malhotra, Head of Department, Psychiatry, PGIMER said, "Under the telepsychiatry project, physicians in remote and rural areas have been educated and empowered to identify and treat people suffering from mental disorders. They will use a 'knowledge-based clinical decision support system' and if required, they can take help through specialist consultation via telepsychiatry."

She said that the system contains a semi-structured interview with in-built rules that guides the diagnoses. "There is a format with a list of questions. A trained physician at a clinic will ask the questions mentioned in the format and fill the answers as described by the patients. When the interview gets over, answers will be automatically accessed by the system and the system will generate the diagnoses then and there," she said.
She added that every patient is issued a unique identification number and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is maintained.

When asked if the system is a good substitute for a psychiatrist, the doctor said, "This system is equivalent to a virtual doctor, because years of experience and knowledge of several experts in the field of mental heath have been utilised during the setting up of the system."

Telepsychiatry has been started at the regional hospitals of Bilaspur, Uttarakhand and the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Srinagar. The nodal centre of telepsychiatry is at PGIMER.

Dr Savita Malhotra said, "This is the last year of the project and so far, more than 1,000 patients have been treated across these four centres. We are planning to extend the project by one more year."

Source : The Indian Express ,  ; 29th June 2013

Advocate of science emphasises need to dispel superstitions :Bangalore

M.R.S. Rao (left), president of JNCASR; M.V.S. Swamy, award winner; C.N.R. Rao, managing trustee of C.N.R. Rao Foundation; and Navneet Gupta, award winner, at a function in Bangalore on Friday. Photo: Adithya Vasudevan

.R.S. Rao (left), president of JNCASR; M.V.S. Swamy, award winner; C.N.R. Rao, managing trustee of C.N.R. Rao Foundation; and Navneet Gupta, award winner, at a function in Bangalore on Friday.

In North Karnataka people bury physically challenged people up to their neck with cow dung during eclipses with the belief that it would cure them,” said M.V.S. Swamy, teacher, SBMMR High School, Hiriyuru, Shimoga, while sharing his tryst with superstitious people as an advocate of science himself.
Mr. Swamy, 47, teaches science and mathematics in his village school, but also works towards dispelling superstition in villages through basic science education.

This teacher on Tuesday was recognised for his contribution to not just his students but also rural folk. He was awarded the ‘Outstanding Science Teachers’ award donated by the C.N.R Rao Education Foundation, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Jakkur Post, Bangalore. “The enemies of society are those who are educated and are yet superstitious,” said Mr. Swamy. He has been giving scientific demonstrations that falsify superstition for the past 15 years. Mr. Swamy, one of the founders of the Amateur Astronomy Club in Shimoga, demonstrates astronomical events for the local people using a telescope that he built himself. In 2012, Mr. Swamy received the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Best Science Teacher of State’ award on Teacher’s Day for his distinguished work in the field of science. Mr. Swamy wants to fight unscientific programmes (astrology, for example), which the media publishes and telecasts widely, that hamper the growth of society.

“This award is a great recognition for my work and it is inspiring for other teachers to also work towards providing valuable knowledge to their students,” Mr. Swamy said. “People should know the truth behind scientific events and they should not just relate it with religion,” he added.

Navneet Gupta, Thandapani Government High School teacher from Rajouri, was felicitated for his outstanding contribution. M.R.S Rao, president, JNCASR, presented the awards.

Source :  The Hindu , 29th June 2013

Once Again in Delhi !!!!


Deaf and speech-impaired minor gang-raped in Delhi

Source : TOI Via  IANS  , 29th June 2013 

A 13-year-old deaf-mute girl was gang-raped by three men from Haryana here, police said Saturday. One of the accused has been arrested.
One of the accused lured the victim to an isolated spot near her house in west Delhi Friday night, where he and his two friends took turns to rape her, police said.

A woman spotted them and shouted. People caught Asif, one of the accused, while the other two fled, an officer added.

The girl was taken to hospital where rape was confirmed.

Police said the accused are truck drivers from Haryana. A police team has been sent to Haryana to nab the two accused.


Deaf-mute minor girl gang-raped

Source : Hindustan Times , 29th June 2013

A hearing and speech impaired minor girl was gang-raped at a northwest Delhi village, police said on Saturday.
The police said the incident was reported at the Samaipur Badli police station on Friday evening; one of the accused has been arrested.

“The victim, who is deaf-mute, was lured from her house by one of her neighbours, identified as Asif, 27, when she was playing outside around 8:30 pm,” said an officer.

Asif, the police said, took the minor girl to an isolated place where two of his associates were waiting. The three then allegedly physically assaulted the girl and then took turns to rape her.

However, one of the neighbours of the victim girl saw the trio assaulting the girl and raised an alarm. The local residents rushed to the spot and nabbed Asif while his accomplices managed to flee.
The police were informed and the victim was sent to a hospital for a medical examination. The medical check-up confirmed sexual assault and a case was registered at the Samaipur Badli police station. A hunt for the other two accused is underway.


Deaf and mute teen gangraped, 1 held

Source : The Asian Age , 30th June 2013 

A 13-year-old deaf and mute girl was allegedly gangraped by three persons in Samaypur Badli area of Outer Delhi.
A senior police official said it has arrested one accused while two others are absconding after the incident.

The police official said the victim lives in the area with her family. On Friday night, she was playing near her house when the accused took her to an isolated place where they gangraped her. The accused then fled from the area. When the victim returned home, her parents got suspicious when they saw her clothes torn.

“She explained them through gestures that she had been raped. She was then taken to the local police station where an FIR was lodged after getting the medical examination of the victim. We have arrested one Asif, a local resident, in this connection while search is on to nab the other accused who are on the run, said the police official.

Meanwhile, another gangrape was reported from Sultanpuri, Outer Delhi, where a 15-year-old girl was kidnapped and gangraped. A senior police official said the victim has alleged that her common friend who lives in neighbourhood took her to Noida on the pretext of a get together. “She alleged that she was offered a soft drink laced with sedatives. She fell unconscious after which her common friend and his two friends gangraped her. The girl was taken to Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital where rape was established in her medical examination,” said the police official.

The police nabbed the main accused but did not divulge his name as he is said to be a juvenile.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Malaysia supports treaty to facilitate access to published works by the disabled : Kuala Lumpur


Malaysia has expressed support and commitment towards the treaty to facilitate access to publish works by visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities.


Its permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Datuk Mazlan Muhammad said the treaty marked a significant milestone in enhancing the availability of special format materials for the visually impaired persons especially from the developing countries.
"Malaysia attaches great importance to the conclusion of the treaty and its benefit to the millions of visually impaired persons throughout the world.
"Malaysia is of the view that the treaty facilitates access and use of copyright works by the visually impaired persons while at the same time protecting the right-holders' interests by providing adequate and effective limitations and exceptions," he said.
The statement was delivered at the Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities in Marrakech, Morocco recently.
Mazlan also shared with the conference that Malaysia provides the elements of limitations and exceptions for the visually impaired persons through it's National Copyright Law.
"Malaysia's National Copyright Law highlights on the issuing of copies of any work into a format to cater for the special needs of the visually impaired persons accordingly," he added.
He said the conference signifies the firm belief of UN member countries in the multilateral process regarding Intellectual Property.
Mazlan added that Malaysia hoped the spirit of cooperation and engagement among member countries built during the conference would continue in future work programmes of Intellectual Property related issues.

Source : NST , 28th June 2013

'Encourage families to care for their disabled children' : Chennai

B Valarmathi, Minister for Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme, releasing the UNICEF’s Annual state of the world’s children report. Also seen are Saraswathi Rangasamy, Chairperson of Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child rights, and Sathish Kumar, Chief, UNICEF office for Tamil Nadu and Kerala | EPS

B Valarmathi, Minister for Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme, releasing the UNICEF’s Annual state of the world’s children report. Also seen are Saraswathi Rangasamy, Chairperson of Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child rights, and Sathish Kumar, Chief, UNICEF office for Tamil Nadu and Kerala

Families should be preferred over institutions when it comes to taking care of disabled children, said Sathish Kumar, Chief of UNICEF, State office for Tamil Nadu and Kerala, during the release of the UNICEF’s Annual State of the World’s Children’s report.

“Families with disabled children must be given assistance to provide care for their children. If the child does not have  own parents, then relatives or foster parents must take their responsibility. Though there are a number of issues  that arise in such cases, they are much lower when compared to the ones that arise when these children are put in institutionalised care,” he said.

Sathish Kumar highlighted that the number of disabled persons reported in the census was grossly under-represented. “The census 2011 reports that the disabled account for 2.13 per cent of India’s population. But as per the world report on disability 2011, about 25 per cent of the people in India are disabled. Census must take into account the relevant parameters that can track the actual disability in the country,” he said. He added that since census is carried out on a largescale it might be difficult to track the accurate number of the disabled. It is up to the States and communities to take up surveys to identify the scale of the problem,” he said. The screening of newborn children for disability under the National Rural Health Mission is a step forward, he said.

The report says that children with disability, especially girls, face a greater risk of being poor, abandoned and stigmatised. Hence, society has a responsibility to provide an inclusive and enabling environment to the children, he pointed out.

Source : The New Indian Express , 29th June 2013

Mantralaya staffer held in senior citizen con : Mumbai

A Mantralaya employee, Sudhakar Gaikwad (55), has been arrested for his alleged role in the cheating of a senior citizen of Rs 62 lakh.

Gaikwad and another accused, Shrinivas Suryavanshi (27), were arrested on June 21. Five others were nabbed earlier for the con. after promising him a flat under the chief minister's quota for the latter's physically challenged son.

The accused offered the senior citizen, S Irani (60), whose son is physically challenged, a flat at Andheri (W) under the CM's 10% quota for the disabled. The others arrested are ATS officer Dilip Bhosle, Jagdeepsingh Atra, Anil Purohit, Irani's family friend Rajesh Upadhyaya and his aide Sanjay Mehta.

Gaikwad and Suryavanshi have been sent to police custody till July 1. - Nitasha Natu"Irani's family friend, Rajesh Upadhyaya, is one of the accused. He was aware that Irani's son was physically challenged and passed the information to his associates. Upadhyaya and his aide, Sanjay Mehta, were the first to approach Irani with the offer. They accepted an initial installment of Rs 10 lakh from him in January," said an official from the Meghwadi police station.

Upadhyaya and Mehta introduced Irani to Bhosle, who claimed to have retired from the ATS. He also claimed to be the current security in-charge of the Chief Minister. After receiving an allotment letter through the accused, Irani paid Rs 35 lakh in two installments. In March, Bhosle instructed Irani to give a demand draft of Rs 17 lakh, which the senior citizen did.

But when the accused wouldn't hand over the keys to the flat to Irani, the latter decided to visit the Collector's office for a check. He carried the acknowledgement and order copy that the accused had given him. But at the Collector's office, he discovered that no such property scheme existed

"Bhosle told us, during interrogation, that the forged papers had been prepared and given to him by Gaikwad," a police officer said. "Bhosle was introduced to the rest of the accused by Suryavanshi. Suryavanshi boasted of having contacts in Mantralaya and was to be paid a commission of 5% of the cash amount conned from Irani.

Both, Gaikwad and Suryavanshi, have been remanded to police custody till July 1.

The others arrested in the case earlier were Jagdeepsingh Atra and Anil Purohit. The total arrests in the case now stand at seven.

Source : TOI , 29th June 2013

Left to die, Mira Road ‘viklangs’ turn angels for the abandoned

Left to die, Mira Road ‘viklangs’ turn angels for the abandoned 

There are barely a dozen earning members among the residents, but food, clothes, and other necessity goods are shared across the colony


Handicapped Colony' in Mira Road, which houses around 50 people, has turned into a shelter for the homeless from across the country.

One of the most famous addresses in the burgeoning Mira Road is Viklang Colony, or the colony of the handicapped, which is basically a cluster of shanties abutting a busy junction.

Home to around 50 mentally/physically challenged people, the colony could be described as one of the fastest growing in the area, but there are no greedy builders or land sharks 'overseeing the expansion'.

The residents, all of whom have been abandoned by their families, welcome every single such person from all over the country, who then become part of the family, and is looked after irrespective of his financial condition.

There are barely a dozen earning members among the residents, but food, clothes, and other necessity goods are shared across the colony. "No-one goes to bed hungry" is the motto, and the residents ensure it is always adhered to.

Happiness, at last

In one of the shanties reside Suvarna Premlal and her husband. Latur resident Suvarna, who is inflicted with polio, and her son, had nowhere to go after her first husband abandoned her. The residents found her begging in the streets of Mira Road, and brought her 'home'.

"My son, who is 17, goes to a private school and my husband earns enough as a masseur to provide us a good life. Coming to this colony was the greatest thing to have happened to me and my son," Suvarna grinned.

How it all began

The colony's founder, Imran Mulla, and his wife were forced to leave their house in 2005, after his brothers felt he was a liability. Mulla lost his legs to polio, and walks with the support of his hands.

"My wife was pregnant then, but we just couldn't take the insults any more and walked out with a bag stuffed with clothes. After living in the streets, I found this deserted spot, and set up a shanty. Eventually, others came along and today, we are a big, happy family of more than 50," Mulla said.

The shanties have come up on the plot that belongs to the Collectorate, but its inhabitants have many a problem to tackle. For instance, sewage water routinely floods their huts, especially in during the rains, but there's always a way out.

"People shift to the huts that are least affected by water," laughed Mulla, "It is a simple solution, isn't it?"

Dashrath Chauhan, 28, arrived at the colony a few years ago from Lucknow, where his family said they couldn't afford to keep him any longer. He suffers from a disorder that doesn't allow him to walk or even sit for too long. "I beg through the day and make enough money to support others. I wanted to contribute to the family. How can I not, after what they have done for me?" he said.

Let down by govt

It's been eight years since the colony came into existence, but no effort has been made to monitor the living conditions here. It is just a piece of plastic sheet that separated the shanties from the drains, and every spell of heavy rain leads to the entire slum getting flooded, as the colony doesn't have drainage facilities.

Ironically, the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation has a yearly budget of Rs 1 crore to help such individuals. Records reveal that in the past three years, funds meant for setting up of self-help groups for the challenged have been pilfered to buy vehicles and electronic items.

Suresh Kakani, commissioner, Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation, said he was committed to provide amenities to the Viklang Colony residents.

"Orders have already been issued to set up mobile toilets. I will instruct our counsellors to plan out vocational training to make the residents self-reliant," he said.

Source : Mumbai Mirror , 29th June 2013

Roadblocks affecting govt's reach to people with disabilities: Selja - New Delhi

Absence of full-time commissioners, ineffective functioning of State Coordination and Executive Committees are among the major hindrances in dealing with the various issues concerning people with disabilities, Union Minister Kumari Selja said today.

Addressing the 12th national meeting of the state commissioners for people with disabilities, Selja said inadequacy of human and material resources for the state commissioners is also a serious issue.

The proposed Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill will be a vast improvement on existing Persons with Disabilities Act, and give more respect to disabled people's dignity and protect their fundamental rights, she said.

"Special recruitment drive should be launched across states to fill up the backlog of vacancies in government posts and tangible steps need to be taken to improve the quality of education," Selja said.

She said the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the setting up of a dedicated Department of Disability Affairs in her Ministry showed the government's commitment towards persons with disabilities.

Disability rights discourse is now getting institutionalised in the larger legal and policy framework of India, the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister said.

Source : Economic Times Via PTI , 28th June 2013 

Friday, 28 June 2013

Differently Abled : Saudia Arabia

I am indebted to Arab News for carrying my success story prominently a few days back and I also feel delighted to have fulfilled my parents’ dream of making me an engineer. On the day when I graduated from Alfaisal University, my joy knew no bounds as I could feel the lit-up faces of my father, mother and sister in the hall. It was very encouraging and heartwarming to receive kind words, congratulations and prayers from my well wishers.

As we all know, one’s success is never a one-man show. This is exactly the case with me. My achievements are the outcome of the concerted efforts of many people that include my family, teachers and friends. I am very blessed to have the support of so many people who had the confidence in my abilities and pushed me to excel despite the obstacles that lined my path. I would also like to thank those people who were discouraging because their attitude only acted to push me harder as friction helps drive the wheels on the road.

I received many words and notes of congratulations after my graduation and I would like to achieve more accolades to make these people proud of my achievements. I would like to tell the world that disability is not inability and the people who the world terms “disabled” are, in fact, differently abled.

When one dreams, his or her dreams should have no bounds as limiting oneself reduces the chances of achieving the maximum potential. Kites fly against the winds and a little bit of opposition should not deter an individual. Self-confidence should be high enough to turn opposition into a propelling force that will take one closer to his or her goals. — Naqi Haider Rizvi, Dammam.

Source : Arab News , 28th June 2013 

Pakistan to follow UP's formula for polio eradication : Lucknow ( UP )

Though India is quite close to being declared a polio-free country, the threat of the disease looms large as the next door neighbor Pakistan is still reeling with it. In fact the nature of problems being faced by vaccinators and health officials in Pakistan is more or less the same. And so, Muslim clerics from Uttar Pradesh, who played a crucial role in pulse polio awareness in the state, are now all set to help Pakistan combat the challenge.

Under the aegis of Muslim Ulama Committee, the clerics have offered to visit Pakistan and share the Indian experience to help their counterparts in Pakistan convince the people to let the volunteers administer anti polio vaccine. The rotary international has planned the entire thing. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of Rotary International's Polio Plus Committee held last month. The decisions became loud and clear with the social sector organization formally offering help to Pakistan. Stating that health officials in Pakistan are keen to follow UP's formula for polio eradication, member of Rotary's national committee for anti-polio advocacy and social mobilization, Ajay Saxena said, "after clearance from Bob Scott, chairman Rotary International, our counterparts in Pakistan have decided to adopt UP's formula for polio eradication through community mobilization."

He informed that community mobilization effort undertaken in UP was unique. "A committee was formed at the state, divisional and district level to spread the message. The committee had representation from all sects — such as Deoband, Bareilly, Shia and Sunni — of the Muslim community. The composition of the committee gave it a universal colour which left no room for any further argument. The strong structure helped the committee combat individual challenges at micro level," said Saxena. He added that till now, effort by volunteers in Pakistan was fragmented.

Rotarians believe that the helping hand from UP can do wonders for Pakistan which has lost several polio volunteers to resistance by people after the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Citing Aziz Menon, a senior Rotary functionary in Pakistan, Saxena said, "People governed by the Taliban believe that a house to house polio volunteer informed the American spies about the location of Laden which led to his killing. Then, some of the residents also believe that volunteers are working at the behest of the American government to control their population. Considering the mistrust of the people, the experience from Uttar Pradesh can help the implementing agency win over the confidence of the people."

Regarding the experience in UP, member of the Muslim Ulama Committee, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said, "Except for the laden story, polio volunteers in UP got a chance to hear every thing else. The fear of population stabilization and boys turning impotent were the most common ones. We actually went to the fields and gave public speech to convince the people. We administered the polio drops from our own hands to prove that there was nothing wrong in our deed." On why can't clerics in Pakistan undertake the same effort, the Maulana said, "the fear of losing life has not let them take the initiative. Also, many of the members in the Ulama Committee have an international appeal."

Source : TOI , 27th June 2013

iOS 7 build shows new Accessibility option to control devices via head movements

ios7logoPer MacRumors, a new feature has been pointed out for Apple’s upcoming iOS 7 operating system that, via an Accessibility menu, allows iPhone users to control their devices using head movements.

The option can be found in the Switch Control area of the Accessibility menu, which is designed for users who need assistance with physical and motor movements.

Switch Control allows you to use your iPhone by sequentially highlighting items on the screen that can be activated through an adaptive accessory.

With the feature activated, specific movements can be used to correspond with actions. For example, the setting can be programmed to allow a left head movement to activate a tap, while a right head movement can be programmed to perform to another function.

Users can also make the left or right head movement act as a home button, start Siri, open Notification Center, open the App Switcher, decrease volume, increase volume, or simply tap.

It is important to note that Switch Control head movements are a beta function and should be used with caution, as the setting disables touch input.

Apple has always had a heavy focus on accessibility, and over the years has worked to provide accessibility options for vision, hearing, motor skills, and learning, turning the iPad and the iPhone into fully featured assistive devices. iOS 7 promises to bring even more accessibility options, further increasing the utility of Apple’s devices.

Source : Power Page , 27th June 2013

HI, HDC celebrates B’la DRC’s first anniversary : Baramulla , Kashmir

Sakina asks Govt to organize survey for differently abled persons


Minister for Social Welfare Sakina Itoo Thursday informed that she has asked Government of India to do a survey for persons with disability in J&K.

The minister was speaking at a function organized by Hope Disability Centre (HDC) and Handicap International (HI) to celebrate the first anniversary of the establishment of District Rehabilitation Centre (DRC) at Baramulla District Hospital.

Appreciating the role HDC, the minister said, “There are only a few organizations like HDC, who are  working for physically disabled persons in Kashmir.”

The minister called on concerned officials to ensure that ramps are constructed in all the new government buildings.

Handicap International has been running a project for rehabilitating disabled people in Kashmir in partnership with a local NGO Hope Disability Centre from last three years.

Source : The Daily-Rising Kashmir , 27th June 2013 

Petitioner challenges High Court rejection of MBBS candidature under disabled quota : Chennai

The Madras High Court has directed the State Health Department authorities to respond to a writ petition by a girl who said that her candidature under the ‘disabled quota’ for MBBS course was found not eligible after she was subjected to a second medical examination.

Justice K.K. Sasidharan has posted the matter for hearing on July 1.

The petitioner, T. Nalini of Injimedu in Tiruvannamalai district, said she belonged to BC (other than Muslim). She had secured 1,071 marks out of 1,200. She met with an accident at a young age and her left leg was amputated below the knee. She was fitted with an artificial leg. She could walk and run. The District Medical Board at Tiruvannamalai assessed that she had 65 per cent locomotor disability. She applied for a medical seat. In the rank list of disabled persons, she stood 16th. There were 54 seats under the ‘disabled quota.’

She was issued the counselling form on June 18. Before filling it up, she was asked to appear before a panel of doctors. After examination, the doctors said something about her to the Secretary, Selection Committee. Immediately, the counselling form was taken back from her and she was orally informed that she had 75 per cent disability and not eligible for admission.

She said the District Medical Board was headed by the Joint Director of Medical Services. The Secretary, Selection Committee, without considering the certificate issued by the district board, subjected her to a fresh assessment of her disability. The panel of doctors without any basis or guidelines assessed her disability on the higher side, thereby depriving her of an MBBS seat. The selection committee did not give her any rejection order. Her candidature was rejected last year also. She said the committee’s action in rejecting her candidature was illegal.

Source : The Hindu , 28th June 


Blind couple from Gujarat seeks Juhu cops' help : Mumbai

A visually challenged couple from Ahmedabad in Gujarat has submitted an application to the Juhu police, complaining of being threatened with dire consequences by three men.

According to the couple's application, for the last two months, the three men harassed them, demanding Rs 50 lakh.

To escape the harassment, the couple fled to Mumbai and checked into a hotel, but the accused allegedly tracked them down. The couple then checked into another hotel.

Earlier this week, when the wife was travelling in an autorickshaw, the accused stopped the vehicle and used abusive language with her. Scared, the couple approached the Juhu police.

But the Juhu police said that they will verify the complaint before lodging a first information report in the matter.

The couple has two sons-aged three and nine.

Source : TOI , 28th June 2013

Rotary International and Gates Foundation join hands to boost polio eradication : Mumbai

 Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) joined hands to address the funding gap in the new strategic plan announced by Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) towards polio eradication. BMGF has announced to contribute twice the amount raised by Rotary International to stall polio from making a comeback. The projected cost for eradicating polio in the next six years is $5.5 billion.

"Going forward, the Gates Foundation will match two-to-one, up to $35 million per year, every dollar Rotary commits to reduce the funding shortfall for polio eradication through 2018," said Jeff Raikes, CEO, BMGF. The estimated cost of the initiative's 2013-18 polio eradication and endgame strategic plan is $5.5 billion and a funding commitment of $4 billion has been announced at the Global Vaccine Summit in April 2013. But unless the current deficit is met, the anti-polio campaign is not foolproof.

The campaign can be affected to an extent as the immunization efforts need to be sustained throughout the globe. The joint effort is called End Polio Now - Make History Today. "The value of this new partnership with Rotary is more than $500 million (approx 3,000 crores). In this way, your contributions to polio will work twice as hard," added Raikes.

Analyzing the critical phase at which 'Polio end game is at present, Deepak Kapur, Chairman Rotary's India National Polio Plus Committee (INPPC), who has been leading the effort for Rotary in India for more than a decade said, "GPEI's six-year end polio strategy is a global immunization plan with the goal of ending polio while improving efforts to protect all children, including the most vulnerable, with life-saving vaccines."

India has gone over two successful years without a case of polio and the surveillance and monitoring report indicate another strong year for India to finally clinch the regional polio-free certification in 2014. However, the danger of virus importation exists because of the neighbouring polio endemic countries looms large. The eradication effort in Pakistan has been sabotaged time and again by radical groups, who have targeted polio volunteers, even killing some. "Polio can rebound and affect 2,00,000 children worldwide. More so in countries like India where a child is born every second and needs protection," Kapur said.

Globally, polio has decreased by 99% to just 69 cases this year. Three countries - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria - remain endemic for the disease.

Source : TOI , 27th June 2013

Jagan's handicapped supporters to undertake rally to Delhi : Hyderabad

A group of 30 physically handicapped people will undertake a rally from Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district to New Delhi on tri-cycles to oppose what they call "illegal detention" of YSR Congress party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.
The group along with 10 of their aides will undertake 2,000-km long rally over next three and a half months.

"The rally is to highlight the illegal manner in which their beloved leader Jagan's case is being prolonged by the CBI at the behest of vested interests," said a statement by YSR Aasaya Sadhana Samithi.

The group is expected to reach Hyderabad on July 4 or 5. It will also undertake two-day fast here.

Samithi's secretary Sharif said during the regime of Jagan's father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, several schemes were announced and implemented for the welfare of the physically handicapped.

The Samithi was set up two years ago to ensure that the schemes launched by YSR were implemented effectively.

Jagan, who is the MP from Kadapa, is in jail for more than a year in alleged disproportionate assets case.

Source : Business Standard , 27th June 2013

Varanasi police to act as guardians for mentally challenged kids

The Varanasi police will soon be in an Avatar of guardians for the mentally challenged children of the district.

It sounds surprising but the Varanasi police are all set to take this responsibility as a part of community policing. It will be formally launched by the ADG (law and order) Arun Kumar on Saturday.

This initiative is a brainchild of a deputy SP and circle officer Sadar, Rahul Kumar, who got this idea during his past posting in Noida where several parents of mentally challenged children met him with the worries about future of their wards.

After it he studied the problem and also worked with some NGOs on this issue. But when he got posting in rural belt here he noticed that many of those children are ill-treated or even killed to end their claim on property. The trafficking of these children and killing for other reasons also takes place for monetary reasons but most of these cases remain unreported.

After it he conducted survey in Rohania, Jansa and Lohta police station area of his circle that resulted in detection of 300 mentally disabled children. However, the records of social welfare department shows only 200 such children in the entire district.

Not only this but before meeting the SSP AK Mishra to give a proposal for launching this programme as a part of community policing he also sought help of Dr Tulsi of Deva International Society for Child Care, who is also one of the directors Association for Rehabilitation under National Trust Initiative of Marketing (ARUNIM national trust) of ministry of disability affairs of government of India.

When Rahul and Dr Tulsi met the SSP with this proposal he also agreed for this initiative. They said that this programme is aimed at searching each and every mentally disabled child, ensuring availability of certificates of ailment for each mentally retarded child from CMO, benefits of the schemes of ministry of disability affairs, ARUNIM national trust, their training and counseling with the help of NGOs.

As per the guidelines of ministry the district magistrate becomes the legal guardian of such child after identification but cent percent identification of those children is proving a difficult task in existing system. To make the programme effective the SSP decided that each beat constable will adopt two of the mentally disabled child. These cops will check the condition of beneficiaries and also progress in their health and behaviour on weekly basis. The men in khaki are hoping that their initiative will ensure the availability of benefits of government schemes for these children apart from their safety.

Source : TOI , 27th June 2013

Mental cradle hunts for a head : Jharkhand

Puzzling eligibility criteria leave Rinpas without regular director for 6 years


                      Empty at the top: Rinpas in Ranchi


Serious brainstorming, it seems, is needed to find out why doctors shy away from medical services in Jharkhand. Otherwise, a premier mental health institute in Ranchi would not have remained without a full-time chief for the past six years.

An advertisement for the post of director at Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry and Allied Science (Rinpas) was published on May 23, with June 10 being fixed as the last date of application. Only two candidates applied.

Realising that an interview could not be fairly conducted with frugal options, the health department extended the deadline till July 10. If sources are to be believed, till June 27, the number of applicants had not even increased by one.

Joint secretary (health) Vinod Kumar Mishra, who is in charge of Rinpas operations, could not fathom why more candidates were not applying for the post.

“The post has an excellent pay scale (Rs 37,400 to Rs 67,000). It is very difficult to understand why people are not applying. We have extended the date because we want at least five to six persons to appear for the interview. Let us see what happens this time,” he said.

Rinpas’s hunt for an “eligible candidate” began in 2007 after Brigadier (retd) P.K. Chakraborty vacated the coveted chair. The first advertisement was published in June that year and six people applied.

Unfortunately, a controversy kicked up because the post was erroneously mentioned as ‘mental health specialist’ instead of ‘psychiatrist’. Later, the desired educational qualifications were modified to make matters far more complicated.

Then director of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) N.N. Agarwal ran operations at Rinpas for sometime. The mental cradle saw a couple of acting directors like Ashok Prasad and A.K. Nag thereafter, while incumbent acting director Amool Ranjan joined in December 2010.

And, all the department of health religiously did was publish advertisements for the post every year.
One was brought out in October last year. The ad saw four applicants. None except incumbent Amool Ranjan was shortlisted. So, the department decided not to hold an interview. In 2011, too, no one made the cut except him.

Citing the reason behind no candidate being on the final list, insiders said that the academic qualification sought for the director’s post was “too complex to fit any particular individual”.

According to the advertisement, the Rinpas director should be a postgraduate (MD/DNB) in psychiatry from a recognised institution, an MPhil in M&SP/clinical psychology with PhD in clinical psychology or MPhil in psychiatric social work with PhD in psychiatric social work from reputable cradles. And, he or she should have relevant experience.

Confusion prevails on whether both medical qualification in psychiatry and PhD in clinical psychology are mandatory or either would do. To be on the safe side, the selection committee looks for both and, hence, fails to zero in on a suitable candidate.

On whether he was aware of the hitch in appointing him as a regular director, acting Rinpas boss Amool Ranjan feigned ignorance. “I have put in my best efforts to take the institute to new heights. All I know is that as long as I will be here, I will do the cradle good.”

What if Rinpas failed to get itself a director?

Joint secretary (health) Mishra could not say whether the ad ritual would continue.

Should the eligibility criteria be revised before another ad? Tell

Source : The Telegraph , Calcutta ; 28th June 2013 

Bangalore: Exclusive Aadhaar centres for elderly, disabled

A child living with disability enrolls himself at the Model Aadhaar Enrolment Centre in Malleswaram on Thursday.A child living with disability enrolls himself at the Model Aadhaar Enrolment Centre in Malleswaram on Thursday


To help disabled people Aadhaar-compliant, the state government on Thursday launched exclusive Aadhaar enrolment centres at various places across the state.

After inaugurating a model Aadhaar enrolment centre, chief minister Siddaramaiah said 50 per cent of the population in the state have already enrolled their names at such centres and 35 per cent of them have been issued Aadhaar cards.

“More Aadhaar centres will be opened at various places across the state to enable the people enroll their names. So far, 10 lakh beneficiaries who have Aadhaar cards have availed of the direct benefit transfer (DBT) facility,’’ the chief minister said.

Apart from setting up model Aadhaar enrolment centres, the state government has also made arrangements for setting up appointment-based enrolment centres and call centres for providing information on enrolment centres and the process, launch of e-Aadhaar services through Bangalore One centres and Karnataka One centres, and the launch of a special enrolment drive for disadvantaged and vulnerable sections of society.

“Now, we are focusing on vulnerable sections of society. Separate counters will be set up for pregnant women, the physically-challenged, transgenders, and senior citizens. Those who have already enrolled their names can check the status of their Aadhaar card at Bangalore One centres,’’ said DS Ravindran, chief executive officer, Centre for e-Governance.

Call Centres

To know about Aadhaar (enrolment centres in Bangalore City, enrolment procedure, documents required, etc) residents may call up the department call centre number 080-4455 4499 or 9243700100. The UIDAI has created a website wherein residents can find out the status of his/her enrolment/generation of UID number. This facility will be extended to the residents of Bangalore city through selected Bangalore One Centres and in the districts of Tumkur, Mysore and Dharwad through Karnataka One Centres. Citizens can avail of this facility by visiting these centres. Service charges will be applicable.


Rotary Conference Hall, 13th Cross, Malleswaram

Ravindra Kalakshetra

BBMP ward office, Rajarajeswarinagar

Balakrishna Rangamandira, Rajarajeswarinagar

Vivekananda Rangamandira, Shalini Park, Jayanagar

BBMP Ward Office, Begur Road, Bommanahalli

BBMP Ward Office, Rajajinagar

BBMP Ward Office, Bagalgunte

BBMP Ward Office, Netaji Circle, Mattikere

Mayo Hall


You can visit and book an appointment for enrolment.

PUC Board, Malleswaram

BBMP Office, Hudson Circle

Hockey Stadium, Nanjappa Circle, Shantinagar

Kanteerava Stadium, Kasturba Road

Synthesis, Electronics City

Ramamandir, Rajajinagar

Kabaddi Stadium, Vidyapeet Circle

Source : DNA , 28th June 2013

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Poised to fly on wings of ambition & grit : Ahmedabad

Just like the gutsy Helen, these deaf-blind people remained undeterred by their impairment.
She was a remarkable woman, an inspiration to many. She is Helen Keller, who dedicated her life to improving the lot of the blind and the deaf-blind. On her birthday on June 27, which is celebrated as Helen Keller Day, dna spoke to a few deaf-blind people on their achievements.

Zamir Dhale

Currently employed as advocacy officer in Sense International (India), an NGO working with the deaf-blind, Zamir is involved in developing awareness and recognition of rights for deaf-blind people. He is actively involved in developing; implementing and monitoring advocacy plans for the NGO along with teaching tactile sign language to professionals in the field of deaf-blindness.

In 2003, he worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali as an instructor in his film, Black, to train Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan on the sign language — Braille and Mobility — for the film.

Zamir was among the four persons he nominated to speak during the interactive panel discussion to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA). Speaking about this achievement, Zamir through his trainer Parag Namdeo, said: “I guess, it was the first time that a person with deaf-blindedness was able to speak at the United Nations Human Rights Council. I hope this would inspire my fellow mates, suffering from the same disability. Recognition of the specific needs of deaf-blind persons is essential to ensure inclusion of many deaf-blind persons like me and I will keep on fighting for it until we achieve it.”

Zamir has not only achieved professionally but personally, too. He is married to a sighted-hearing woman and has a four-year-old daughter.

Rajesh Seth

Rajesh was born with a genetic disorder which is a leading cause for deaf-blindness. Impaired of hearing since birth, he even lost his vision as he grew older. Before losing his sight, Rajesh went to a school for deaf children.

But, when he became deaf-blind, there was no one to teach him to communicate and he had to stay confined to his home.

Yet, his mother never gave up hope. She enrolled Rajesh with an NGO, working with the deaf-blind. 30-year-old Rajesh owns a sweet shop and specialises in preparing snacks such as samosas, fafdas and jalebi. Rajesh likes watching movies in his spare time. How? “I see them through my mother’s eyes. She translates the movie, scene by scene, on my hand,” he said.

Daya Vala

Daya is born deaf-blind as her mother was infected with Rubella disease while Daya was in her womb. Besides the disability, Daya did not give up hope nor did her parents. She has successfully completed her schooling. With vocational training, Daya has learned to make handmade jewellery, tie and die dupattas and diyas and gets a stipend for her work. “Initially, it was difficult but now I have learnt how to work on tying dupattas with thread and I also make jewellery by mixing contrasting beads and stones for preparing a neck piece or bracelet. It feels good to be independent and contribute monetarily to the family,” said Daya through her interpreter.

With the assistance of hearing aid and glasses, the 17-year-old Daya can now identify colours, discern shapes and is exploring the world of numbers.

Meera Verma

Meera has recently passed her board exams with flying colours. The 17-year-old girl’s dream is to become a teacher and passing this exam is like getting a step closer to realising her dream.

Through her interpreter, she said: “I succeeded in passing my exams and I am grateful to my educators Madhavi and Bharti m’am and also my mother, who motivated me. I hope to become a teacher soon and help other children like me.”

Source : DNA , 27th June 2013

Man gets wife, infant’s bodies after seven hours : Odhisa

A physically challenged man of Khariar was not allowed to take bodies of his still born child and wife by a private hospital after he expressed his inability to pay the charges of treatment and blood transfusion. The bodies were detained for seven hours by the hospital authorities.

Hrusikesh Majhi’s 29-year-old wife Sapuri was third time pregnant after two miscarriages in the past and this time she was in touch with an Asha worker Kalpana Barik for safe delivery.

When Sapuri developed labour pain on Monday night, Kalpana rushed her to Khariar community health centre (CHC) at around 9 pm. In the absence of a gynaecologist in Khariar CHC, doctors referred her to Nuapada District Headquarters Hospital, about 70 km away. However, with the pain getting intense and inability to arrange funds for a vehicle, Hrusikesh took her to the Mission Hospital, about three km from the CHC. She was admitted in the hospital only after Hrusikesh deposited the requisite money.

Since Hrusikesh was physically challenged, it was Sapuri who worked as a domestic help and ran the household. At around 12.30 am, Sapuri gave birth to a still born child and her condition deteriorated as she was anaemic.

Doctors advised for blood transfusion and one unit of blood was transfused by the hospital on the condition that Hrusikesh would return back the same. This was, however, of no help to Sapuri’s deteriorating condition and she died in wee hours of Tuesday.

But a grieving Hrusikesh was shocked when he was refused to take the bodies of his wife and baby by the hospital authorities who said he should first clear all the expenses of treatment and blood transfusion.

With no other way out, Hrusikesh managed arrange Rs 2,250 from a private money lender of which, he paid Rs1,500 for a unit of blood and Rs 750 for treatment charges. By the time he could take possession of the bodies, seven hours had already passed.

Administrative Officer of the Mission Hospital Ranjan Jal said the patient was brought in serious condition and her haemoglobin was four gram per cent. “We take minimum charges and there is no question of fleecing or exploitation of patients,” he said.

While efforts to contact District Collector and Khariar BDO on benefits for under-privileged women like Sapuri under the Maternity Assistance schemes of Odisha Government proved futile, Social Education Organiser of the block Nilambar Suna assured that all benefits to Hrusikesh would be provided.

Source : The New Indian Express , 27th June 2013