The government is playing a cruel joke on the physically challenged persons who are still getting Rs 250 as a monthly financial assistance for the last many years, while the costs of the all the commodities of daily use have increased many folds, making their survival on this paltry amount difficult.
The government started paying Rs 100 per month to the physically challenged persons in 1995 and over 20 years, it has been increased to just Rs 250.
‘Rs 250 per month pension too less’
“We are only receiving Rs 250 per month as financial assistance and it is too less to live on. On daily basis, we are getting about Rs 8 per day. One can buy only a cup of tea for the whole day with this amount. For existence, one needs clothes, ration for daily food and also medical treatment at times. The government should provide us at least Rs 1,500 per month,” says Basant Singh, a resident of Devi Wala village of Faridkot district, who has almost 100 per cent physical inability as both of his legs were left badly crippled by the polio in childhood.
His father is a daily wager and Basant, too, has to depend upon his parents to lead his life. He can neither walk nor do any other physical activity except pedalling the tri-cycle.
Basant Singh is not alone who is left to fend for himself. According to Basant, there are at least three cases of handicapped persons in Devi Wala village alone.
Naib Singh, 41, a resident of Khara village, who was left 50 percent crippled by polio in his childhood, also leads the tough life.
‘Govt indifferent towards people like us’
“I had started getting Rs 100 in 1995 as handicapped pension and it has only been increased to Rs 250 after 20 years. I did my matriculation in 1995 and since then, have also appeared in 74 interviews. My wife is also physically challenged. But the government has been totally indifferent towards the problems of the physically challenged persons. I am bringing up my children by doing a private job because, the quota for the physically challenged in government jobs in only three per cent, while number of such persons seeking jobs is more. We rather get humiliated at the government departments instead of earning any sympathy,” says Naib Singh Khara, who has also completed his class 12 in 2013.
“The pension for handicaps should be increased to Rs 1,500 per month as one cannot think to lead a life with Rs 250 now,” he said.
“The government is totally indifferent towards the problem of the physically challenged persons who have been getting such a small amount for many years. Unfortunately, it has no increments like other pensions and salaries. The government also tries to take political mileage from such schemes. It should be above Rs 1,000 with timely increase in the amount so that the handicapped persons can also keep pace with the rising prices,” said Darshan Singh, former sarpanch of Dhilwan Kalan village from Faridkot.
‘Many folds increase in salaries of legislatures, govt officials’
“There have been many folds increase in the salaries of our legislatures and government officials with other facilities during this period. Then why so little increase in pension for disabled persons who really deserve it? It should be increased to Rs 1,500 with annual increments,” said Gurpreet Singh Chandbaja, a social activist.
It must be mentioned that there about 3,500 such beneficiaries in Faridkot alone.
“The government has doubled the pension from January 1 this year along with other pension schemes. Those, who are with 80 to 100 per cent disability, their spouse and children can apply for financial help. Some additional provisions for free treatment and other schemes are also available,” said Chinderpal Kaur, district social security officer, Faridkot, who delas with such schemes.