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Chandigarh residents campaigning for group home for mentally challenged criticise Admin’s bid to transform Cheshire Home, call it quick fix

"This arbid and sweeping, mostly for PR, decision of the administration has caused more harm than good. This is not the way to help the mentally challenged of the city. Please provide for alternate arrangements for the physically challenged as well," said Unita Vashishta.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | September 26, 2020 6:30:22 am
Chandigarh residents, home for mentally challenged, Chandigarh Administration, Punjab news, Indian express newsBhupinder Sidhu, another resident wrote an email to the Adviser raising questions on the decision of declaring Cheshire Home as the group home. (Source: Pixabay)

The UT Administration’s decision to make Sector 21’s Cheshire Home a group home for mentally challenged persons– and direct the handicapped persons who are already occuping the premises to vacate it– has not gone down well with those running the campaign for a group home. The activists said the decision was not wise.

“This arbid and sweeping, mostly for PR, decision of the administration has caused more harm than good. This is not the way to help the mentally challenged of the city. Please provide for alternate arrangements for the physically challenged as well. Please note, they were not encroaching on the premises, and do not deserve to be summarily thrown out this way,” said Unita Vashishta, a resident.

She added, ” Much more sensitivity is required. More thought and brainstorming with experts is required. Please take a proper and long lasting decision for this rather than quick fixes, which break more than they fix.”

Bhupinder Sidhu, another resident wrote an email to the Adviser raising questions on the decision of declaring Cheshire Home as the group home.

“Cheshire Home has only nine rooms. There are 18 physically handicapped people still living there. What if they refuse to move out? In 2019, the Chandigarh Administration submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying that Cheshire Home would be a Half-way home as per the SC order. A year later nothing has changed. How can we believe you now that you would move out the residents and start a long term Group Home for persons with mental illness?,” Sidhu questioned.

She added, “Out of the nine rooms, one room will have to be for the residential caretaking staff. The remaining eight rooms can accommodate a maximum of 16 residents. What about the others? What criteria will be applied to decide? Don’t you think it will be inhuman to refuse families even though they signed up a year ago and have a genuine need? Shockingly, you go on to say in the newspaper that ‘No plans on duration of stay have been made’. This is utterly shocking! Will you also move our children out after a few years? What sort of planning is this? ”

Aditya Vikram, another resident said that there could have not been a better option than Indira Holiday home.

“There cannot be a better and easier option than Indira Holiday Home. The Governor is the president of the Executive committee, so he can decide immediately. UT Administration should not pass on the management of Indira Home to any NGO or private entity. Instead they should solicit help from parents, professionals and national, international organizations while firmly holding on to the ownership of the place,” he said.

Two days back administration had issued a statement stating, “It was seen that 17 people, mostly handicapped have encroached upon this property, which is basically a resumed property belonging to the Administration. The inmates are mostly persons who were earlier working in pre-paid booths of Traffic Police, which are now closed. The building is a double-storeyed, constructed on a plot measuring more than two kanal with 6,000 ft construction.”

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