The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to reach out to senior citizens and the differently-abled to help them deal with their essential needs during the lockdown.
Pune, also known as ‘Pensioners’ City’, has a large population of senior citizens who stay alone and are unable to go out due to various ailments and disabilities. With all modes of transport shutting down, they have found it tough to carry out tasks such as buying essential items and getting medical help.
Now, the PMC has set up a control room in the civic main building that will help senior citizens and the differently-abled procure essential items during the lockdown, said PMC Additional Municipal Commissioner Rubal Agarwal.
A helpline 020-25501285 has been made available for the needy citizens where they can inform their needs and NGOs would be identified to cater to them, she said. The special cell can also be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org .
The elderly can call up the helpline and inform PMC staff about the items they need, such as groceries, vegetables and medicines, or if they need help in visiting a hospital or bank. Those manning the control room will coordinate the service or the delivery with the help of local NGOs and police.
PMC Chief Engineer Srinivas Bonala, who has been appointed the chief nodal officer of the cell to help senior citizens, said the PMC helpline will be open from 10 am to 6 pm.
“The helpline will collect the information of senior citizens and differently-abled and then allot the work to the staff of respective ward offices,” he said.
The PMC control room will also coordinate with the local police, pharmaceutical shops and grocery units to enable immediate and faster service to senior citizens and the differently-abled.
“The PMC is also planning to provide food kits to senior citizens and disabled citizens. The kit will include 5 kg wheat, 5 kg rice, 1 kg daal, one litre oil, one kg salt, one kg sugar, 100 gm turmeric powder, 250 gm chilli powder, one bath soap and one soap to wash clothes. The NGO should help PMC procure them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vaishali Patkar of Aundh Mohalla Committee said she, along with other members, has started helping senior citizens in the area.
“The major problem faced by senior citizens is that many of them are dependent on their help and attendants. They are suffering during the lockdown as they have to do all domestic chores on their own, with no helping hand,” she said.
With no help or attendants, senior citizens have to cook their own meals, or seek help from their neighbours, or avail a tiffin service, she added. Patkar said police have to resolve the issue by giving special passes to the attendants.
“It takes effort to convince some senior citizens as sometimes they don’t agree to change. There is also a need to provide them counselling,” she said.
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