It seems that the State Commission formed for the Physically Challenged are crippled in every way. Initiated 17 years ago, the commission has not processed even a single petition seeking assistance from the government according to the information obtained under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
The mandate of the commission is to look into an application and forward it to the government for further action. But the commission has not processed any of the petitions till date.
Besides, the commission, which was constituted under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, has the right to take suo motu cases based on complaints and media reports.
When ‘Express’ contacted State Commissionerate for Persons with Disabilities N Ahmad Pillai, the State Commissioner said that there has not been any incident in which the Commission’s intervention is required. “Besides, the instances to take any suo motu case never came to the commission’s attention,” he said.
RTI Federation state vice-president Rasheed Anappara, who had sought information under the RTI Act and is also a Physically Challenged person, has said that he personally contacted the Commissioner many times to lodge several complaints.
According to Rasheed, the Commission is keeping mum when the Physically Challenged across the state are yet to receive their long-pending pension.
“Currently, reports on it are constantly appearing in the print and visual media. Why is the commission reluctant to take any action in this regard?” he asked.
He cited another instance where he had intimated the State Commissioner about an incident where a Physically Challenged person was killed after being run over by a KSRTC bus.
“Though he admitted that he was aware of the incident, he seemed reluctant to take any action,” he said.
The RTI Federation has also said that according to the act of 1955, there should be a ramp in every government institution for the Physically Challenged to drive their special vehicles to the office. “If such a ramp is not built, the commission can take a suo motu case against that institution. But no such action has been taken yet,” they said.
They added that there are over 1,000 Physically Challenged people in the state who lodged various complaints with the commission awaiting action.