OVER 500 people experienced life without vision for an hour at the Blind Walk, which was held to raise awareness about problems faced by the visually impaired on World Sight Day at Sector 17 Plaza in Chandiagrh on Thursday. The walk was organised by the Dialogue Highway Trust in collaboration with Project Vision, a Bangalore-based foundation. Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, flagged off the walk and also walked with the aspirants. Addressed the public and volunteers, he said, “I am quite happy to be a part of this unique initiative, which keeps humanity alive. Not everyone gets the entire universe. Somewhere the earth and somewhere the sky is missing. Those who are visually impaired should be understood by society and they should be shown empathy rather than sympathy. When they become self-dependent, they will get confidence and respect from within,” Sidhu announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh to the trust for doing great work every year as long as he remained minister.
The walk was led by 50 visually impaired students of the School for Blind, Sector 26. It witnessed the participation of volunteers, social activists, doctors and students from local schools and colleges. Prominent among those who joined the walk included Chandigarh BJP president Sanjay Tandon, PGI Director Jagat Ram, Punjabi actor Japji Khaira, Punjabi artistes Pammi Bhai, Hardeep Gill and Gurkirpal Surapuri. Tandon gave away prizes to organisations working for the welfare of visually impaired.
Managing trustee of Dialogue Highway and food policy analyst, Devinder Sharma, said, “Figures show that there are 4 crore visually impaired people across the globe while the tally stands at 1.5 crore in India. As per Census 2011, there are 2,852 visually impaired people in Chandigarh. Millions of people have joined hands in spreading awareness across the world by carrying out blind walks at different places across the globe. Such initiatives will go a long way.”
The walk ended with people taking a pledge to donate their eyes and body organs after death.