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Kerala wheelchair users hopeful of getting their rights after meet with ministers

July 4, 2019

Members of All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation had an important meeting with Kerala ministers KK Shailaja and T P Ramakrishnan. They submitted a petition focusing on seven points relating to employment and accessibility rights.

Time to translate words into action. That was the All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF) put across at a meeting with K K Shailaja, Minister of Health and Social Welfare and T P Ramakrishnan, Minister for Labour and Excise at an important meeting in the state capital.

The issue is that despite announcing many schemes and benefits for wheelchair users, none of it has seen implementation as AKWRF members point out. To push this, Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, AKWRF, along with legislator John Fernandez met the ministers at the State Secretariat. The ministers promised that the concerned departments would give this priority. The main issues highlighted poor implementation of specific schemes, clearing backlog at the employment exchange, paying off all dues to wheelchair users and putting up ramps at state owned buses.

We are positive that the minister is going to look into all these matters. She assured that all the concerned department ministers will be notified of the issues that wheelchair users in the state faces. We wanted to highlight on the employment part because there are many unemployed wheelchair users who are eligible to get jobs but are still searching in the dark due to red-tapism. As wheelchair users, we have our limitations in going out behind all this regularly. -Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation

So, what are the projects that are still pending? These are: Kaivalaya under which skills training to wheelchair users is to be provided along with an amount so that they can start their own independent business and Karunya Arogya Insurance where insurance will be given to wheelchair users. There is also a demand for seats and ramps for wheelchair users inside state run buses.

"We want the right implementation of RPWD Act 2016", emphasised says Lyse Bin Muhammad, President, AKWRF. "A couple of days back, we got the good news that the Social Justice Department is going to give away free customised wheelchairs. This is going to be of immense help for wheelchair users from economically backward families".

The government has not set a deadline for implementation but AKWRF is planning to start protests if no action is taken in the next couple of months.

ALSO READ: How a Facebook page helped rally a support group for wheelchair users in Kerala

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