COVID-19: In Telangana, differently-abled find it tough during lockdown – THE WEEK

Posted: April 12, 2020 at 8:45 pm


without comments

Last month, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities wrote to the states and Union Territories to follow guidelines in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. The state governments were asked to take measures for the safety and protection of the differently-abled during the lockdown period.

One of the many suggestions by the department was .. reserving specific opening hours in retail provision stores including supermarkets for persons with disabilities. In Telangana, officials of the Department for Women, Children, Disabled & Senior Citizens said that they have not implemented the suggestion. In other states, too, this suggestion seems to have not been taken seriously. Recently, para-badminton player Manasi Joshi raised the issue because of a bitter experience she had faced in her hometown in Ahmedabad. Along with my brother, I went to a supermarket to buy essentials. There were many people standing in queue as only 3-5 people were being allowed inside at a time. My token no. was 17. And I could not sit on the bench as it can be contaminated. Since, people in my locality know me well they came up to me and took selfies but did not help me to go ahead in the line. I wish people could be more empathetic, said the winner of para-badminton world championship, who trains in Hyderabad.

For Manasi, the episode was also an eye-opener about how the government needs to do more with respect to priority queueing. We are vulnerable. We have some basic rights and we need support to do our work in these conditions. There was no priority queuing in the supermarkets. She said that when differently-abled are given priority in public transport, then why not in places like stores. She said that she also wants to talk about the difficulty in moving around for the differently-abled during the lockdown.

The guidelines also task the state to provide special passes to the differently-abled who have to go out and also provide them with essential items to further help them. On ground, however, differently-abled are facing their own challenges every day despite the guidelines.

Ahmedunnisa is a mother of two who is physically handicapped. She runs a grocery store in Secunderabad. I have to get supplies for my shop daily and also essential items for my house. Before lockdown, I used to travel by auto but I am not able to do that now, said the sole breadwinner of the family. I cannot walk for a long time as my lower body will start paining. In the present circumstances, I cannot go out on my own, so I request one or the other neighbour to get me stock and essential household items.

Ahmedunnisa hoped that the lockdown will be lifted soon as it is increasingly becoming tough to sustain herself financially and also lead a normal life. If I have some emergency, where should I go and how should I go?

One of the guidelines for Person with Disability (PwD) is During quarantine, essential support services, personal assistance, and physical and communication accessibility should be ensured e.g. blind persons, persons with intellectual/ mental disability (psycho-social) are dependent on care giver support. Similarly persons with disabilities may seek assistance for rectification of fault in their wheelchair and other assistive devices.

Though the state governments are focusing on setting up a number of quarantine centres and isolation wards, it is learnt that the administration is yet to make them differently-abled-friendly.

Commissioner, Welfare of Disabled, B. Shailaja said that they have followed the guidelines sent by the Union government. We have created awareness content on COVID-19 in Braille and sign-languages. We have also started a helpline for the disabled. We are trying to help all those who need medicines or treatment. Through our direct officers, and with the help of support groups, we have supplied them with groceries and essential items.

View post:
COVID-19: In Telangana, differently-abled find it tough during lockdown - THE WEEK

Related Post

Written by admin |

April 12th, 2020 at 8:45 pm