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Activist who fought for the disabled succumbs to Covid, struggled to get oxygen-bed in Pune

Activist Ramdas Mhatre, along with a friend Kamble, founded the Jagrut Apang Sanghatna in Pune in 1981 for the welfare of disabled people.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: April 13, 2021 7:25:39 pm
Pune newsIn the first two weeks of April, the number of those with serious conditions requiring immediate hospitalisation has gone up by at least 80 per cent.(Representational Photo/File)

Activist Ramdas Mhatre, who worked tirelessly for the welfare and upliftment of disabled people, succumbed to Coronavirus on Tuesday morning. He was 63 and is survived by his wife and two sons.

A resident of Pune city, Mhatre was admitted to a private hospital on Dehu-Moshi Road in Pimpri-Chinchwad. His close friends said they tried their best to find an oxygen-bed for him in Pune city but none of the hospital could admit him. Mhatre had comorbidities.

“After a lot of effort, we found a hospital for him in Pimpri-Chinchwad as no other city hospital was ready to admit him. He was doing alright initially but over the last few days, his condition deteriorated and he passed away this morning,” said Manav Kamble, a friend, adding that it was only last week that Mhatre had celebrated his birthday. He was afflicted with polio in both legs in his childhood and was, therefore, confined to wheel-chair all his life.

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Mhatre, along with Kamble, founded the Jagrut Apang Sanghatna in Pune in 1981 for the welfare of disabled people. “Though he was a Class-I officer in government service, he was actively involved in the movement for the upliftment of disabled citizens,” said Kamble.

Though confined to a wheel-chair, Mhatra never lagged when it came to putting his best foot forward for the cause. He played a key role in disseminating information and creating awareness on various government schemes for the disabled. “He was a man of initiatives. He worked very hard for improving the lives of the disabled. He wanted to make sure that disabled people did not miss out on the benefits of various welfare schemes of central and state governments meant for them. He was always at the forefront when it came to organising meetings and rallies for the purpose. He constantly raised his voice against injustice and the raw deal given to the disabled population and also wrote articles in newspapers and magazines to create awareness about the plight and rights of the disabled,” recalled Kamble.

“Though he was a government officer, it did not prevent him from dedicating himself to the cause of fellow disabled citizens. He was not worried about government action. He said he was doing nothing wrong as he was only supporting governments’ bid to work for the welfare of disabled people,” Kamble said.

Mhatre worked closely with prominent socialist leaders such as Baba Adhav, among others. “This helped our organisation work at state level as well,” Kamble added.

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