New normal for disability sector: Everything is different, but nothing has changed for them

New normal for disability sector: Everything is different, but nothing has changed for them

Kaushalya

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 4

Financial constraints, immobility, transport problems mar villagers nine months after the Covid lockdown was implemented, and the members of the disability sector are yet to come out of the impact. While some have been rendered jobless, others have had their incomes hit strongly. Even as the sector ran the campaign #Ask Captain on Twitter, two differently-abled people fighting for the rights of the disability sector, say the handicapped are most affected than rest of the population.

Kaushalya, an activist and a resident of Garha village near Phillaur, says, “Our income has considerably sharply dipped. I am a social activist and a housewife. My husband sings. His programmes were a big hit during the pandemic. He had to open his own store where he sews paddy sacks. His shows are slowly picking up. But we still have to pay 10 months fees of our children. But when we have little to eat, how are we going to spare money for the fee?”

During the pandemic, Kaushalya facilitated rations for the 10 to 15 disabled people at her village who were left without a lifeline. She has ensured cochlear implant surgeries for kids by mobilising help, ensured knee and heart surgeries for many apart from running a self-help group for women which contrives monetary support for women.

“People from the disability sector in our village are poor people. Their mobility is completely hit. The government paid no heed to their plight when the lockdown was announced. Construction workers and women got money through schemes but no one thought about disabled. With Rs750 a month in pensions how can people survive?” she questions, before revealing, in our village ration was delivered only once during the lockdown.

Advocate Palwinder Singh Pallav, vice-president of the District Bar Association Hoshiarpur expresses similar sentiments. Being a hand amputee, he is more active in social work than many of his colleagues. However, he also says incomes have taken a hit in the bar too.

“My income has been hit with the pandemic. But my family has supported me and my kids. It is a bad time for those without any support system or help. Since courts were also closed in between, clientele has suffered massively. Especially women, who were hit due to accidents or the differently-abled people unable to move amid the pandemic, had seen very bad times,” he shares.

“Each disability sector is a whole work in itself. Differently Children are educated by special educator at schools. Many parents don’t know how to handle them when they stay home. The Har Virvaar Divyangon ka Satkaar campign had to be closed in Hoshiarpur. The medical treatment of many was abruptly snapped,” Palwinder added. According to him, the least the government can do is ensure a decent amount of pension compared to Rs750 they now get. Also, in such times, the UDID cards with the differently-abled should be declared as good as curfew passes.”

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