HYDERABAD: In her latesixties, Andalamma hardly remembers how many times she has visited Osmania General Hospital for a certificate that she was to receive in less than two weeks. Her agonising wait still continues, with her hope of holding the ‘elusive’ certificate growing fainter by each passing day. She is one of the several differently-abled persons who frequent the SADAREM camps to obtain the disability certificate (commonly known SADAREM certificate) to avail the pension offered by the state government. The brittle paper that Andalamma clutches bear testimony to the fact that she has been making this ‘relentless’ effort from July last to help her widowed and disabled sister Anjamma to get enrolled for Persons with Disability (PwD) pension of `1,500 per month. It is, in fact, not as painful as other hapless persons who have been enduring this trauma for more than three years! In Hyderabad itself, as many as 800 SADAREM certificates, of those PwDs assessed between October 1, 2014 and May 5, 2015, have been pending with the service provider.
Coordinator and service provider of six SADAREM camps in Hyderabad district, Ramesh Goud, himself revealed this. There are clear instructions to upload the laminated certificates on SADAREM website, and they have to be dispatched directly to the patients. However, the reality is only contrasting. It emerged that when PwDs come in person to collect certificates they are forced to grease the palms of authorities present at the hospitals. Although there are guidelines mandating authorities to pay towards the commuting and food expenses of PwDs and their attendees to visit the SADAREM camp, no such facilities are being provided. This has compelled them to cough up huge amounts towards auto fares.
“I don’t know whether I would get the certificate and become eligible for pension but I have spent enough on travelling expenses, taken from others in the form of debts. I need to first clear my debts,” Ramulu, a sexagenarian with crutches, said. “Generally, there is lack of awareness in urban areas as how to obtain SADAREM certificates. There are certain problems with regard to distribution of certificates in urban areas compared to rural areas,” said director of Persons with Disability, Rajeswar Reddy, of the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty(SERP)- the nodal agency involved in issuing pensions.