Chennai, India, Sept, 2019 -- Are you or someone you know struggling to receive a disability certificate or pension? Is the officer refusing help? All such issues will be addressed by the state helpline for disabled people, which is soon to be launched.
"The helpline will direct people to the officials concerned to expedite the process of receiving documents. It will also take note of their complaints, bring it to the notice of the commissioner and take action accordingly," said a senior official from the department of differently abled. "People will not be required to visit the department office time and again, just one call to the helpline will solve their problems."
The department is currently selecting people to manage the 24*7 helpline. Its office will be stationed in the city. The government launched a similar initiative in 2015 a state-wide disability toll-free helpline: 1800-121-1245.
However, the helpline became defunct a few months later. Officials from the department blamed lack of awareness for its failure.
"When the government launches a helpline, it also becomes their duty to publicise it. In 2015, people hardly knew there was a helpline for disabled people, they failed to spread awareness," said Kalpana Rao, principal of Vidyasagar school for the differently abled.
She further pointed out to 1098 (childline), 104 (medical helpline), 100 (police) and other helplines which have been serving its purpose.
"In these cases, the respective departments took extra measures to publicise these numbers and register it in people’s minds. We hope the authorities adopt similar practices and do not let this helpline fade over time," she said.
"This helpline must also provide emergency services such as rescuing disabled people found on the streets," said Deepak Nathan, head of December 3 Movement.
He recalled an incident where a man was found walking on the streets using his hands as his legs were paralysed. Though a passerby wanted to help him, he didn’t know whom to call. "It was hard to find help for him. In such cases, we need the helpline to serve as a one-stop solution covering all aspects," he added.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, October 3, 2019
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