DIMAPUR: Out of 5% disability population in India, Nagaland has a record of 26,000 disabled people in the state. Yet, there it was learnt that the number of disabled people in Nagaland was more than what had been actually recorded.
To mainstream this disability status in Nagaland, a Nossal Institute for Global Health and the Australian Leadership Award (ALA) Fellow organized a convergence on Thursday at Red Cross Building where representatives from government departments and various NGOs attended.
A member of ALA Fellow K. Ela, said that it was time normal people acted for the needs of the disabled and makes them assets of the society. She stated that it was not lack of resources but the lack of commitment and concern in people that the disabled were not met. “It is not their impairment but our insensitivity that has made them disabled”, she said.
Speaking on mainstreaming disability, Ela pointed out that the government should initiate in making government offices, public places, hospitals, schools etc accessible for the disabled. Ramps, toilets, and other free accessible constructions should be made with special regard to the disabled, she added. Ela also advocated on inclusive education for the disabled where schools are sensitive towards disabled children.
Director of Health Service, from the Health and Family Welfare department, Dr. Kumuni Kathipri, said that there was a huge number of disabled in the state whose needs ought to be addressed. Expressing dissatisfaction, Dr. Kumuni commented that the medical department had never really taken disability as a component. She said that disability section in the medical department was very critical and assured that from the coming years, components of disability services would come into plan.
Disseminating various programmes and policies for the disabled, Additional Director, NSACS, Dr. Yanthan said the state’s AIDS policy would guarantee programmes like sensitization of HIV and AIDS issues to the disabled and its interventions made available to them. Once the policy is passed, Dr. Yanthan said it would help the society in big ways.
Dwelling on various financial schemes given by the government for the disabled, joint director, Social Welfare Department, Kewe Inakhe, said that 3% of all schemes should be reserved for the differently abled people. Stating that very little were given to the department, she urged the NGOs to come forward and ask for enhancement of rates of various schemes for the Disabled.Mission Director of SSA under Education Department, Angau Thou, said that in education, special children’s education was taking a back seat due to the lack of technical expertise and sensitization. Under the SSA schemes, she said that disabled children from 6-12 years were given Rs.1,200 per year, with aids, appliances, development training materials, etc. She also advocated on children’s right to education and the necessity of access free buildings for the disabled under the SSA.
Deputy director of employment and craftsman training, Y. Vandanshan Lotha, said that various trainings and programmes were focused on cases of people with disabilities.
PWD deputy chief engineer Er. R. Temsu, said efforts had been taken to provide facilities in public places for easy accessibility of the disabled. He appealed to government departments and institutions to give inputs so that correct approach could be made in the right perspective.
Transport and communication deputy general manager, O. Elibemo Yanthan stated the department had given free travel passes to only 58 people with disabilities out of the 26,000 as per the record, and stressed on the need for awareness. He further informed in recent constructions in Kohima and Mokokchung, separate toilets have been made for the disabled.
Akhono Tetso from Human Rights Legal Network spoke on People with Disability Act 1995, while people with and affected with disability shared their experiences. Earlier, welcome address and introductory note was delivered by Dr. Joyce Zinyu Angami.