ITANAGAR, June 7 - Altogether 957 persons with disabilities (Divyangans), including senior citizens, have been provided with free-of-cost aid and assistive devices during a programme, Samajik Adhikarita Shivir, held at the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre here today.
Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot, who presided over the programme, informed that in the last five years, the Ministry has organised 7,150 such camps across the country benefitting 11 lakh people.
Attending the event, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu called for assistance from the Union Ministry to help the State declare Papum Pare, the district with the highest population, as disability-free district by December 2018.
Khandu said that the State Government would like to take up on a mission mode the task to make the entire State disability-free starting with Papum Pare as a pilot project.
As per the 2011 Census, Arunachal Pradesh has a total population of 13,83,727 and according to the National Sample Survey, 2001, there are 33,315 disabled persons, which comprise three per cent of its total population, a notch higher than the national average.
Khandu viewed that three per cent is a substantial chunk of the population and it is the responsibility of the Government to equip and enable this population to contribute to the growth of the State at par with their normal counterparts.
Khandu requested the Union Ministry to consider opening an unit of Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation Ltd (ALIMCO), a Government of India undertaking, in Arunachal Pradesh, to cater to the entire North East. He pointed out that ALIMCO, which manufactures aid and assistive devices for persons with disability, has only an outreach centre in Guwahati.
Union Minister Gehlot, while responding to Khandu�s requests, asked the State Government to submit the proposals to his Ministry immediately. �Submit the proposals and I assure approval within a month,� he said.
The minister urged the State Government to immediately appoint an independent State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities so that schemes and funds can flow from the Centre seamlessly.
Also present on the occasion were Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, Union MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju, State Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Nabam Rebia, Secretary to the Union Ministry Shakuntala D Gamlin, and other officials from the Ministry, ALIMCO and State Government.