Differently-abled persons march to Secretariat

By Our Reporter

 Shillong: Accusing the State Government of adopting an easy-going attitude towards them and not addressing their problems, persons with disabilities under the banner of Khasi Disabilities Association (KDA) hit the streets of Shillong on Wednesday and marched towards the Secretariat to voice their protest.

However, police prevented them from entering the Secretariat premises following which the group assembled at the State Central Library.

The KDA lambasted the government for its failure to address their grievances while questioning the government’s lack of keenness in responding to their demands.

“The government is aware of the problems faced by the persons with disability. Why should we remind you of the same thing again and again?” KDA general secretary, Ibadalin Kharbuli, asked Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, IR Sangma, who had come to meet them.

Defending her stand, Sangma said the delay in implementation of various schemes meant for the disabled persons is because the matter involves many government departments. “The matter is being taken up with the concerned department,” Sangma said.

When the KDA expressed dissatisfaction over Sangma’s response, the Commissioner assured to facilitate their meeting with the Chief Minister.

Later, a ten-member team of the KDA met Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma for a short meeting at the Secretariat as he was in a hurry to depart for Kolkata from where he would leave on a tour to Bangladesh.

“I have told them to give me a specific instance of the violation of the 3 per cent reservation for the job they are eligible to apply. They have brought to my notice two cases and I have instructed my office to find out and seek a report why it was not implemented,” the Chief Minister told reporters shortly after the meeting.

The KDA functionaries later informed that the Chief Minister has assured to look into their demands. They also mentioned that they had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister on February 2 last hoping that their demands would be looked into by the government.

KDA president Starwin Sawian alleged that the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995 was not being implemented properly in Meghalaya.

The demands of the KDA include recognition of persons with disabilities through a disability certificate of the district medical board issued by the government doctors and hospitals and to extend help to them in getting various grants and to provide them smart cards of the RSBY (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana).