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Saturday, 26 September 2015

Disabled citizens protest municipal harassment, apathy - Dehradun

Agitated by the Dehradun Municipal Corporation's (DMC) failure in providing permanent space for disabled citizens to set up stalls, nearly 40 of them locked the main gate of the corporation in protest on Monday.

DMC has given licence for mobile stalls to 53 disabled people, but these have been of no use to them. On the contrary, the stalls would add to their burden because most of the beneficiaries use crutches. The disabled citizens are now demanding permanent booths on the lines of those given by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

"The corporation can allot us space for setting up permanent booths on vacant land if it is actually willing to make us independent, like MCD. This move will help us in becoming economically and socially stronger. Instead, the corporation has suggested that we keep a helper to run the mobile stall smoothly. It is ironic that we have not been able to make both ends meet and they are merely giving us suggestions so that we can run a business selling vegetables," said Sanjeev Kumar, vice-chairperson, Nanda Devi Hapless Handicapped Peoples' Association.

However, the corporation has rejected their demand outright. Mayor Vinod Chamoli said, "There is a huge difference between the municipal acts of Dehradun and Delhi. The disabled beneficiaries here are not aware of the scant powers that the Dehradun corporation has and are therefore demanding things out of our purview. It is a state matter. If the Uttarakhand government comes up with some special scheme or policy crafted for these people, then the corporation shall provide all possible support."

Meanwhile, the corporation allegedly knowingly removed the stall of one of the disabled beneficiaries from LIC Mandi, citing non-availability of licence. However, his neighbour, who also allegedly did not have a licence, was not affected.

CP Thapliyal (40) has polio in both legs and is the only earning member of his family. The corporation today took away his stall without giving any prior notice. "I have been left with nothing except a bank loan. The corporation resorted to such measures after disabled beneficiaries protested. This is suppression of our voice and indirect mental harassment," alleged Thapliyal.

Infuriated, disabled citizens are now planning to meet the chief minister on Tuesday to place their demands in front of him. "We will seek at least 100 permanent booths for disabled persons not just in Dehradun but across all 13 districts of the state," said Kumar. As per municipal corporation guidelines, 10 percent 'space' has to be allotted to physically challenged vendors in markets.

Source : TOI , 21st Sep 2015

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