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Disability rights group in Kerala protest against ‘Kaivalya’ project not taking off

The All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation held a protest in front of Muvattupuzha employment stock exchange last week. The protests were held for speedy implementation of state government initiated 'Kaivalya' project where disabled people will be given a certain amount to start their own business. It has been over a year since the project was introduced but very few people have benefitted from it.

It has been an over a year since the Kerala government introduced the Kaivalya project for people with disabilities. Under the project, a person with disability will be provided a certain amount to start their own business ventures. Till date, out of the 6835 applications submitted, only around 600 people have received the benefits. Last Friday, the All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF) held a protest at Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district against the insensitivity of officials in implementing the project.

Hundreds of wheelchair users from across Ernakulam participated in the protest that was held in front of the Muvattupuzha Employment Exchange. The event was inaugurated by local MLA Eldhose Kunnapilly who promised speedy action. A petition was also handed to the main officer at the employment exchange.

Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, AKWRF, says that if officials still remains apathetic and insensitive towards needs of community members, an all Kerala strike will be planned soon.

Currently, the protests have happened only in Kannur and Ernakulam. We need officials to look into the project at the earliest. This is our right. We handed over our memorandum to officials who assured that the matter will be resolved at the earliest. Police who were present at the protests also understood our needs. We basically wanted a peaceful protest and we ensured we stick on to that-Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, AKWRF

The project was initiated by the state run CPI (M) government a year back. An amount of up to Rs 50,000 will be provided as part of the 'Kaivalya' project. The beneficiary must repay up to Rs 25,000 by paying Rs 475 every month for five years. The beneficiary can start their own shop or set up a business so that they can live independently without depending family or friends.

In spite of disability rights groups protesting over this many times, officials have not yet been ready to do anything substantial. "I applied for the scheme over a year back and even attended classes needed for availing 'Kaivalya'. But officials have been prolonging it and I have not got a positive response till date. I'am unable to go behind this due to my mobility issues. All that they need to do is transfer the money to my account. But they are refusing to do it", says Arun PS, a wheelchair user who had applied for 'Kaivalya' project.

Also Read: Nearly a year since introduction, Kerala government's Subhayatra project yet to launch

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