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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Disabled Sonam deprived of pension, seeks govt help - Shimla

Life has been very harsh for 45-year-old Sonam Bahadur lodged at the old-age home in Basantpur from the past 12 years after he met with a fire accident and lost both his legs.

In spite of 100 per cent disability, Sonam has been deprived of disability pension. He has no money even to meet his petty needs and looks towards those visiting the home for help.

The miseries of Sonam Bahadur, a Nepali national, started at a tender age of five, when he got lost at a fair in Nepal. Being a mere 5-year-old boy, he could not recall his address.

He was taken to Delhi by some unidentified person, who got him engaged as a domestic help at a house in Delhi, where he worked for 10 years.

At 16 Sonam realised that he was physically capable of earning more and moved to Jammu & Kashmir, where he worked as a labourer for a while.

“I moved to Bansadi village near Kheer Ganga in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh and started working for a contractor of the Forest Corporation who used to make coal by burning wood. It was then that I met with a major fire accident and my legs were amputated right from the hips," he says.

He was treated at the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), Shimla, for two years, but did not get any compensation from the contractor or the state government and was finally “dumped” at the old-age home.
Chairman, Umang Foundation, Ajay Srivastava, who is fighting for the rights of the disabled, said Sonam had no money to fulfil his petty needs as he did not fall under the category of old-age pension. “He is not receiving the disability pension as he is an inmate of an old-age home,” he said.

Demanding old-age pension to the disabled lodged at the old-age home, he said an inquiry should be ordered into the fire accident in which Sonam Bahadur lost both legs while performing his duty in Kullu district. He said the responsibility should be fixed so that he could get adequate compensation.

“The government should take some effective steps for the rehabilitation of Sonam and other such disabled persons lodged at the old-age home and other shelter homes,” he said.

Not a lone case

Sonam is not the only one who being disabled has been lodged at the old-age home. Persons such as Surat Ram (42), Ram Singh (44) and Krishna (50) are severely disabled and they too have been admitted at the old-age home without falling in that category.

Except Krishna, who is mentally retarded and sick, the other three can work with their hands provided they are provided some skill training.

Source: The Tribune, 25th Jan 2015

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