THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : With the Lok Sabha elections around the corner, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has instructed all state governments to provide facilities for the differently-abled. 'T'Puram Express' takes a look at the expectations of the people with disabilities from the election, and how eager they are to vote.Most doubt if they can make it to the polling stations as they are consistently ignored.
“We believe in the election and want to vote in the upcoming polls as it is our right. Many candidates only approach us during the election season and promise us various schemes but none are fulfilled,” said Sindhu Sudevan, president, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF), Thiruvanathapuram.
As part of uplifting the differently-abled and helping them to start small business ventures, the Kaivalya project was planned by the government. An amount of Rs 10 crore was alotted for the project but the much talked-about project has been put on the backbench.
This project was launched when the CPI(M) took charge in the state. A loan of Rs 50,000 was sanctioned to be given to the differently abled so they can live independently. The beneficiary has to repay Rs 25,000 by paying Rs 475 every month in five years. The differently-abled groups question the delay. Sindhu did admit the society have become inclusive and have accepted differently-abled people but the government is yet to make such schemes a reality. “Our hopes are in the current candidates,” she said.
“Everyone has the right to vote. Our disability is a hindrance to vote. Every year, we are promised new facilities but nothing happens. We suffer a lot and want a leader who delivers on his promises," said Abdul Manaf, from Kozhikode.With the Election Commission taking a giant step to make the polls disabled-friendly, there is a hope that they too can vote.