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SMS cap hits speech impaired hard

The five-SMS-per-day cap is adversely affecting a group of unsuspecting victims, the hearing impaired, Mallica Joshi reports.

delhi Updated: Aug 22, 2012 01:05 IST
Mallica Joshi

The five-SMS-per-day cap is adversely affecting a group of unsuspecting victims, the hearing impaired.

A deaf individual sends up to 250 messages per day on an average as it is their only mode of conversation.

"The five SMS cap is a real pain for us. It is the only way I can stay in touch with my family or friends when I go to college. If I want to have a proper conversation with someone, I have to send at least 50 messages. It is easy for people who can call and stay in touch. For us, this is the only mode that boosts our mobility. It is insensitive of the government to discount the deaf community when they take these decisions," said Mahesh P, a hearing impaired Delhi University student.

The Union home ministry has issued a directive to implement a cap of five SMS per day to curb the spread of rumours and threats to people from the northeastern states who are living in other parts of the country. The cap is in force till September 1.

The National Association for the Deaf is now planning to approach the home ministry to persuade it to exempt deaf people from the SMS cap.

"For the deaf, SMSs are the only way to communicate and keep in touch with family and friends. The move is having a very significant adverse effect on the whole community. They need to be exempted from this ban," said Javed Abidi, director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).

But this is not the first time that this problem has cropped up. In October last year, the All- Kerala Deaf Association had written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India seeking an exemption from the 100 SMS per day ban.

Around 30 hearing impaired students are currently enrolled in DU. "The SMS cap is certainly a problem as they heavily rely on messages for all manners of communication," said Vipin Tewari, deputy dean, Students Welfare.