Sunday, April 6, 2014

On a mission to help the disabled exercise franchise

Times of India, April 6, 2014
,TNN | Apr 6, 2014, 03.50 PM IST

BHAWANIPATNA: Suresh Choudhary (35), a physically-challenged man, has taken the initiative to create awareness among disabled persons in Kalahandi so that they cast their votes in the forthcoming election. The number of disabled people who cast their votes in the last election was very low.

More than 40,000 disabled people live in Kalahandi and among them, 25,000 are eligible to vote. But most of them don't take interest in the polls because the government has turned a deaf ear to their demands.

Suresh began his journey on his three wheeler motorbike with his friend Chaitanya Sahu on Friday and is motivating disabled persons to take part in the poll. He will campaign till April 8.

He appeals to the voters to vote for those leaders who will support their demands after winning the election. "I am not campaigning in favour of any candidate. We will vote for those who will support our demands after the election," says Suresh.

Following the Persons With Disability Act (1995) Section (46), (PWD Act-1995), Suresh has asked leaders to make all educational institutions, hospitals and government offices accessible and barrier free to disabled persons. He said that in Kalahandi, neither the administration nor any MP or MLA has as yet focused on providing such facilities till date.

Suresh is hoping for a lot from the leaders this time. "The MP and MLAs we choose should riase their voices in Parliament and assembly in our favour so that all buildings are accessible to us," says Suresh.

He has also demanded that the elected members help build a vocational training school in the district which will create employment opportunities for disabled people.

Suresh says 70% of the disabled don't vote. "They never take interest in the polls because the government has never taken any interest in their needs. They can't visit the upper floors of the collectorate or any other government building because the buildings do not have the facility," said Suresh.

He said government building should have elevators and slopes along with stairs.

No comments: