ADDRESSING THEIR ISSUES

While there is a commitment to pay focussed attention on the Specially Abled population across the globe as per the UN resolutions, it is unfortunate to find that the Specially Abled Persons in the state of Jammu and Kashmir are mostly left to fend for themselves, the most probable reason for the same being laxities on the part of the government. In the existing situation there is a dire need for paradigm shift in the government’s approach towards the problems of these persons with disabilities. In this regard discussions were held at length last year at the Gubernatorial level and thereafter certain significant decisions were taken by the then Governor and the concerned minister, but on ground there is not much visible to the satisfaction of this section of the society. As per a survey disabled persons are mostly living in such areas where the services needed to assist them in overcoming their limitations are not available. To a large extent, disabled persons are exposed to physical, cultural and social barriers which handicap their lives even if rehabilitation assistance is available. This is a clear indicator of the failure on the part of the society, be it the government or other agencies to make any progress on the front of addressing the genuine problems of the persons with disability in the society. The reasons for failure are quite obvious. There is a dire need to change the attitude of the official machinery towards the significant section which faces tremendous problems as compared to the other normal populace in the society. The government can’t be absolved of its liability in this regard. It is important to understand each and every aspect of the problem that is faced across the globe with mounting agonies of this section especially in the poor and developing nations multiplying with the passage of time. This aspect deserves priority attention especially in view of societal understandings of disability currently being in the process of transition due to recent developments in official documents regarding definitions of disability and rehabilitation. It needs to be recalled that a slew of measures that had been proposed and initiated in this regard included establishing Schools for Persons With Disabilities at Jammu and Srinagar with adequate hostel and all other required facilities; provision for Ambulance by Social Welfare Department; adequate facilities for Persons With Disabilities in offices, making all Bank ATMs disability friendly; besides appropriate legislation; taking serious note of the difficulties being faced by Persons With Disabilities for lack of ramps in Government buildings, Public Works Department to issue immediate instructions to all concerned departments to ensure that clearance for construction of any new Government buildings shall not be issued unless the building design has provision for ramps etc for disabled persons; etc. It is hoped that Governor SP Malik takes an immediate review of the measures taken in this regard during the past one year and issues appropriate directions to flag the issue as topmost priority and ensures implementation of requisite measures in a time bound manner to address the vital as well as genuine concerns of this deserving section of the society.