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Rights of people with disabilities to be priority of govt, says WGH DC

TURA: West Garo Hills (WGH) Deputy Commissioner, Ram Singh, has told a gathering of People with Disabilities at a conference in Tura that the Meghalaya government has made it a priority to ensure their rights are upheld and maximum support is given to them to ensure the newly established four percent job reservation is implemented in letter and spirit.

Addressing the first ever workshop programme on the Rights of the PWDs (people with disabilities) at Tura SMELC complex on Friday morning, Mr Singh said that it is the duty of every government to ensure rights of PWDs are taken care of.

He acknowledged that there is perceptive negligence when it comes to implementing the PWD Act in government departments and it happens due to various factors.

“Departments must go through the PWD Act and listen to their grievances to understand the difficulties faced by them,” said Ram Singh even as he expressed disappointment with the lack of initiative from many departments that failed to attend the programme that was primarily organised for government offices and officers to get a grasp of the issue.

Only a handful of government staff, primarily from the social welfare department, took part in the day long workshop that was organised by the All Meghalaya Association of People with Disabilities (AMAPD) in collaboration with Bethany Society NGO.

The deputy commissioner also pointed out to the near total absence of providing easy mobility for specially challenged people in government offices where the mandatory ramps still remain elusive. Ram Singh said that it was a matter of concern that even the DRDA office in the DC office complex at Tura still does not have a ramp installed for easing mobility of specially challenged people and assured to look into the matter.

He also informed that a suggestion has been made to the state’s Chief Election Officer (CEO) to provide specially coloured election identity cards (EPIC) for people with disabilities.

“Booth Level Officers have also been tasked to ensure PWDs are enrolled in the electoral list and are able to exercise their franchise. We have as many as 2550 registered PWD voters in the district,” said Ram Singh.

President of AMAPD and visually impaired member Darlingston Ch Sangma along with Michael K Sangma of Bethany Society spoke in detail on the various aspects of the PWD Act during the workshop.

The AMAPD organization consisting of 900 members of Persons With Disabilities in Meghalaya was formed in September 2004. The Garo Hills unit of AMAPD comprising of over 500 members is the largest unit in the state.

The organization has gone on to form block level Disabled People Organizations (DPOs) in eight development blocks over the last couple of years. Committed to work for the betterment of PWDs, it organises awareness programmes on various themes to the parents, DPOs and the community.

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