Closing down Anandwan is my aim,said Vikas Amte,noted social worker and administrator of Anandwan,a community set up by Baba Amte in 1948 for leprosy patients in Chandrapur district. Vikas Amte was in the city Wednesday to receive the Gaurav Puraskar given by College of Engineering Pune (COEP) for his contribution to the society.
Closing down Anandwan is my lakshya. Baba Amte used to call Anandwan a golden cage. That is because,although the place has everything,it did not have freedom like normal people. These people have been thrown out of their homes. Hence their rehabilitation into the mainstream is my lakshya and not segregating them, said Amte. This year we have a budget of Rs 100 crore but this is not a development index, he said.
On Baba and Sadhna Amte,he said,Both Baba and Sadhna Amte were social scientists who worked all their life for leprosy affected people. They have faced a lot hurdles. Baba is the winner of the biggest medical award even though he was a non- medical man,still the government has never given him his due.
He added,Anandwan has just one ration card and hence one cylinder. Many people of Anandwan neither have fingerprints nor cornea to map leaving the Aadhaar card officials in a lurch as to what to do. Since Anandwan residents do not have any voting rights,no politician ever ventures into this territory, Amte said.
There are 123 lakh leprosy patients in India. But leprosy is curable. People die more of TB in the world than leprosy. Still in many countries,leprosy affected people are segregated and even burnt or buried alive, he added.
A sum of Rs 80,000 was given to Anandwan by COEP students community,Ignited minds movement,along with COEP non teaching staff association.