BALASORE: Physical disability could not cripple their will power to lead a respectable life but Government neglect did.
Three siblings of Bahanaga block of Balasore district with deformity in their legs have been running from pillar to post to avail benefits under the social security schemes of the government but to no avail.
Hemanta (40), Kamalakanta (35) and Rebati Nath (25) of Pakhara village under Saud panchayat are among the six children of Ramakanta Nath who fell to a genetic disease and were bed-ridden. Their legs gradually became weak and they are unable to stand without support despite prolonged treatment.
While Hemanta is suffering for more than 25 years, Kamalakanta for two decades and Rebati for 12 years. A health certificate issued by the Chief District Medical Officer states that they are 80 per cent disabled.
Though they are entitled to get disability pension of `500 up to 79 years and `700 after 80 years every month, they are yet to get it. The only benefit Hemanta was getting from the Government was 10 kg rice every month, which too has been stopped since November last year after the new food security act under NFSA was introduced.
Hemanta said they have approached block officials and local politicians several times, but to no avail. "The local elected representatives branded our family as Congress supporters and deprived us of government assistance. The only thing we have got from the government is the disability certificate issued by the CDMO," he said.
Having sold a major part of their landed property for treatment, the family now struggles to make ends meet.
Kamalakanta said though he had completed two-year training on mobile repairing in 2010 and had applied to banks for a loan, they allegedly did not cooperate.
"I had applied for a loan of `one lakh through Khadi Board and it was accepted by a bank. Though I had opened an account on the advice of the bank authorities, they did not pay the loan," he said.
Left with no other option, the two brothers have taken up cleaning utensils in a nearby hotel to eke out a living. "We don't want to become burden on our aged parents," they said.
Balasore Collector Pramod Kumar Das assured that he will look into the matter and directed the block officials to do the needful.