SILCHAR, Feb 28 - Artificial aid and assistive devices were handed over to nearly 1,200 specially-abled beneficiaries from Barak Valley by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the presence of Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar here on Monday.
Addressing a gathering at a function organised by the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) in association with the Cachar district administration and Department of Social Welfare at the Town Club ground, the Chief Minister said, �This is a noble step taken by the Union Government for bringing smiles to the persons with disabilities. We envision equal development of Barak and Brahmaputra valleys and the Central Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is extending total support towards assisting the Divyangans so that they live with pride and honour.�
He added that the Government has decided to extended financial aid to 45 lakh persons detected with disabilities from 32 districts of Barak and Brahmaputra valleys in the State with an annual allowance of Rs 5,000 per person this year. The Government is contemplating to provide a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 to the beneficiaries from next year onwards, he added.
The Chief Minister announced that the Government is planning to introduce Sugam Assam scheme so that persons with disabilities can visit the Government offices in a hassle-free manner without any barriers.
Speaking about development in Barak Valley, the Chief Minister maintained that, �the Government is committed towards development of Barak Valley. We are putting emphasis on the development of road connectivity. Hence, Rs 2000 crore has been sanctioned for the purpose. The Government shall take initiative to convert the dirt track village roads into macadamised ones. Further, four bridges will be constructed over the Barak river in the coming days. I urge the people of Barak Valley to keep an eye on proper utilisation of funds so that precious resources are spent judiciously for better results.�
The Chief Minister handed over an ex-gratia amount of Rs 4 lakh to Shiv Charan Das, who lost his wife Mamata Das in the devastating fire at Chengkuri area of the town on February 25.
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot informed that the Government will soon enact a law to provide 4 percent reservation for persons with disabilities in Government jobs. Continuing, the Union Minister said that the Government will introduce an insurance scheme of Rs 2 lakh for the Divyangans, out of which the Government will bear 90 percent of the expenses, while the remaining 10 percent will have to be borne either by the concerned beneficiary or by the concerned insurance agency.
�This scheme will benefit four persons, and I urge the Chief Minister to kindly arrange to bear the monthly allowances of the beneficiaries or such persons in the State, while the Central Government shall bear the remaining amount,� the Union Minister said.
On the other hand, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar announced that his Ministry is planning to introduce universal identity card for persons with disabilities so that they can avail similar facilities across the country. In the words of Gurjar, this measure will help eliminate biases and misbehaviour often confronted by persons with disabilities.
Significantly, Silchar MP Susmita Dev placed a request before the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment to increase the pension amount for persons with disabilities.
PWD Minister Parimal Suklabaidya informed that the Government has plans to extend a helping hand towards beggars and alms-seekers found in the streets of Assam and has therefore asked the Cachar Deputy Commissioner S Vishwanathan to prepare a list of such persons found in the district to kickstart the noble mission. Deputy Speaker and Silchar MLA Dilip Kumar Paul also spoke on the occasion.
In his welcome address, Cachar Deputy Commissioner S Vishwanathan said that as many as 1,836 aids and assistive devices, including 9 daisy players, 87 smart canes, 34 smart phones (for the visually impaired), 2 ADL kits for persons affected by leprosy, 302 tricycles, 138 wheel chairs, 714 crutches and other assistive devices under the ADIP scheme of the Union Government worth Rs 65 lakh were handed over to the differently-abled persons from across three districts of Barak Valley, who were identified and enlisted through a survey held a few months ago.