As a symbol of protest against the Congress government for ‘misleading’ and making ‘false’ pre-poll promises in its manifesto, several differently-abled people from Punjab under the banner of Apang Swang Lok Manch (Asul) staged a Lok Adhikaar rally in Moga on Sunday.
In the rally, the speakers stated that the Congress had promised to increase the pension of the disabled from Rs 500 per month to Rs 1,500. However, even the existing amount of Rs 500 per month has not been credited since 10 months. They also flayed the Congress for making ‘false’ promises concerning the differently-abled before the polls.
Balwinder Singh, state coordinator, Asul Punjab said, “Since 10 months they have not received even Rs 500 per month. This is pure fraud. Once the government is formed, no one can question them. Before polls, SAD-BJP government stopped crediting pension since January, and now even after polls, there is no sign of it. Even the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has not raised its voice for the disabled people who face harassment at various levels on a daily basis.”
He further informed that there are close to 10 lakh disabled people in Punjab approximately including blind, deaf, dumb, physically-challenged, mentally retarded among others but only 4 lakh of them have been issued disability certificates by the government. “There is simply no effort, even by Congress government, to identify them and issue certificates. Camps were organised but it was nothing more than a formality. Despite a list of 21 disabilities including mental and physical listed under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, they refuse to issue certificates or acknowledge some rare disabilities. Even out of 4 lakh, only 1.5 lakh are enrolled for pension. Since January, not a penny has been credited in their accounts too.”
The attendants in the rally on Sunday took a resolution to meet again in March next year to check the progress of the steps by government for disabled. They also demanded that the disabled should also be given some jobs under MNREGA at village level.