KOCHI: For the past 55 years, my life has been restricted to my village as my physical disability did not allow me to travel, said Kothamangalam-native Abdul Kader.
“I had neither been able to own a vehicle due to my disability and low income, but today my dream has come true,” said the 55-year-old man, who was overflowing with emotions when he received a three-wheeled motorcycle from the district panchayat as part of the Snehavahanam project.
The Civil Station parade ground witnessed myriad emotions on Friday, when the district panchayat distributed three-wheeled motorcycles to 700 physically challenged persons. The phase-III of the Snehavahanam project was inaugurated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
For 35-year-old Suhara of Kothamangalam, the new vehicle was a matter of pride. “People always pass strange glances when they see people like me. Hereafter, such things will be a thing of the past,” said an excited Suhara.
“Instead of showing sympathy, the public should give a helping hand to the physically challenged. The Ernakulam district panchayat is setting an example through the project to provide three-wheeled motorcycles to 1,500 disabled persons,” said the CM, adding that directives were issued to the other 13 district pancyhayats to replicate the model set by Ernakulam.
“The government has also envisaged a scheme to give Rs 10 lakh to those who provide three-wheeled motorcycles to all the physically challenged persons in their circle,” he said.
The function was presided over by district panchayat president Eldhose Kunnappilly. K V Thomas MP; Excise Minister K Babu; MLAs Benny Behnan, Dominic Presentation, Ludi Luiz, V P Sajeendran and Joseph Vazhakkan; District Collector M G Rajamanickam, Poet Chemmanam Chacko and other officials also attended the function.