Nagar Uday se Bharat Uday team officials were in for a rude shock on Tuesday afternoon when they visited Ashagram premises in the outskirts of the Barwani district headquarters, where 120 leprosy-affected families live.
The living conditions of these families were utterly miserable. They lived in 40-year-old huts that are in a pathetic state. Many huts did not have doors to protect the inhabitants from harsh climates. There was no proper electricity, drinking water facilities, or a lavatory. In case of an illness, there are no proper medical facilities they can turn to. Sweepers rarely come, worsening things.
Public representatives, officers and social workers used to come, listen to their problems, see their condition, but then they leave and nothing change. A Class 10 student said nobody gives him work as he doesn’t have fingers, and people hesitate to come near him.
Many of the lepers were not given an aadhar card because they didn’t have fingers for biometric evaluation. And because there was no aadhar, there was no availing of benefits under various government programmes.
The survey team, which consisted of municipality officials, an Asha worker, anganwadi teacher and other workers, said the families demanded that they be given an Antyoday card instead of BPL card, because the ration from PDS shops weren’t sufficient. The nearest PDS shop was situated very far, adding to the misery.
The affected also requested an ATM be installed in the locality, because with no fingers, they find it difficult to fill in withdrawal forms in post offices every time they want to avail their pension of Rs 1,000.
Collector orders immediate resolution
The matter was raised before collector Tejaswi Naik, who asked for a detailed report from the survey team. Taking immediate action, he said that a community toilet will be sanctioned, and a camp will be organised in which aadhar card will be granted for fingerless people, by taking a biometric evaluation of eyes. He promised to resolve their issues related to electricity, drinking water, ration, sanitation, timely pension, antyoday card and ATM.
Naik said that in 2011 survey, the valid leprosy-affected persons in Barwani, Pati and Pansemal blocks had been missed out, due to which they failed to get advantages from Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna and subsequently remained homeless. This matter will be resolved in the second round of survey, he said.