The long-pending demands of the employees of the District Disability Rehabilitation Centre (DDRC) in Kozhikode, regarding their salary and honorarium, remain unheard by the authorities concerned. The employees have not received their remuneration for more than two years. The DDRC, which was launched in 2000 by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, with an aim to provide comprehensive rehabilitation to the disabled, and to make them self-sufficient and productive, has limited it service to merely issuing certificates owing to shortage of staff. “At the time of launch we were 13 in number. But now posts, including those of a physiotherapist, audiologist and speech therapist are lying vacant,” says a clerk at DDRC, P P Haseena. Haseena and Jean Moses, a speech therapist, are the only staff left at the civil station complex office. Dr Vasudevan, orthopaedist of the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, serves as the head of the DDRC. Following staff crunch, the office opens only twice a week. According to Jean Moses, staff shortage and lack of funds have hampered the smooth functioning of the office which used to organise various programmes for the disabled in association with the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital. The staff have sent a complaint to Minister for Social Justice and Panchayats, M K Muneer. Though he has promised to take immediate action to solve the issues, nothing has happened so far. The members of a committee for persons with disability have already tried in vain to draw the attention of the minister to their inconvenience. The district management committee headed by District Collector C A Latha has not convened a DMT meeting to discuss the crisis faced by the employees. When contacted, the District Collector says she has not yet received the files. Hence she is helpless to do anything. “As soon as I get the details I will do the needful for the employees,” she says. “If we leave the centre there will not be anyone even to issue certificates for the disabled,” says Jean. “Even though we are forced to cut short the services of DDRC, we try our level best to meet the requirements,” she says, adding that the instruments bought to offer aid to the disabled are on the verge of disintegration.
WHAT DDRC IS FOR
Provide comprehensive rehabilitation services to the disabled
Organise medical camps
Issue disability certificates
Disseminate information to prevent disabilities
Provide equipment for the disabled