Kerala couple dreamt of care home for their mentally challenged daughter, but feel cheated now

Though the social justice department took over the property with much fanfare, the project remained a non-starter.

Published: 03rd July 2022 06:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2022 11:55 AM   |  A+A-

Kamalasan with his daughter Priya at their house in Kozhikode. (Photo | E Gokul, EPS)

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: When Kamalasan, 81, and his wife Sarojini donated their property worth Rs 3.5 crore to the government to start a care home for mentally challenged women, they hoped to ensure the safety of their lone daughter too.

But four years after handing over the property, the elderly couple now feels cheated and is worried about who will take care of their 41-year-old daughter, who suffers from schizophrenia, after their death.Hailing from a Communist family, the couple — residents of East Nadakkavu in Kozhikode — had donated their one acre land and a two-storey house at Veliyam in Kollam to the state government in 2018.

Though the social justice department took over the property with much fanfare, the project remained a non-starter. The couple now fear that their efforts won’t serve their purpose and that the land they donated might end up in private hands.

“While donating the property, we hoped for a safe place and good care and accommodation for our daughter who needs life-long treatment. But some officers in the social justice department are trying to give the property to a private NGO with vested interests,” alleged Kamalasan, a retired school teacher. He said the property was handed over to the department with an agreement to open a home for mentally challenged women — which will be named after the couple’s daughter Priya — within a month.

“We donated the land to open the rehabilitation centre directly under the government and not to give it to any NGO. Several NGOs are running such establishments eyeing huge profits and we don’t want to give our property to such organisations,” he said.

Shelter home project will be speeded up: Min

“I believe that only a government institution can take care of such people, including my daughter, in the long term,” said Kamalasan. “I am 81 and my wife is 76, and both of us suffer from many ailments. Our health is worsening by the day. We will take care of our child until our death. But, we are worried about who will care for her after us,” said Kamalasan.

“In the last four years, I submitted many complaints and approached a lot of people to make the care home a reality. But all my efforts have gone in vain. I can’t travel much and the health condition is not fit to fight any more. Hence, I am planning to move legally as it is only way left, he said.

Minister for Social Justice R Bindu said she had convened a meeting on the issue six months ago and instructed the department officers to speed up the project. “The government’s decision is to open the shelter home directly under the social justice department. It will be examined whether any officer has made any attempt to hand over the property to any NGO,” she said. “I will check the status of the project and take required steps to speed up the scheme,” she added.



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