Treat us on par with other weaker sections – Delhi’s leprosy affected people tell govt.
The COVID-19 lockdown has hit leprosy-affected people in Delhi harder than everyone else. This is because while the Delhi government has doubled the pensions for other weaker sections of society, people affected with leprosy have been left out.
“Are we any less than widows, senior citizens, or other disabled people?”
A question posed by Girdhari Lal, who heads the Resident Welfare Association at Tahirpur Leprosy Complex, a colony of leprosy affected people in Delhi.
Lal is upset with the Delhi government’s step motherly attitude towards people affected with leprosy during the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown. Under the Rehabilitation Centre for Leprosy Affected Persons (RCL) Scheme, ₹ 3,000 is paid every month to meet living expenses. The scheme targets leprosy affected people living in Delhi from before 1981.
Neglect of leprosy affected people
At the onset of the lockdown, while the Delhi government doubled the monthly pensions for senior citizens, widows and disabled people, so much humanity or largesse was shown towards leprosy affected people. The RCL pension has not been doubled.
The Delhi government is discriminating against people with leprosy at a time when we are battling a pandemic. By not doubling the RCL pension, it has done great injustice to people affected with leprosy. We have raised this matter with the government and we expect justice. – Girdhari Lal, President, Tahirpur Leprosy Complex
The matter has been taken up by the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) as well. NPRD General Secretary Muralidharan Vishwanath has raised the issue on social media with Rajendra Pal Gautam, Cabinet Minister, Government of Delhi-NCR.
“As it is the RCL pension given is inadequate as it does not reflect current standards of living. We have said that this should be brought on par with the disability pension. Not giving RCL pension holders advance payment when other categories have been given the same is nothing but segregation”, says Vishwanath.
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