HC Brings Hope For Disabled J&K Children
22 November 2006
The Times of India
Srinagar: In a reprieve for the physically challenged children in J&K, the high court has asked the state government ensure the clearance of all pending proposals to alleviate their woes. The court also directed deputy commissioners to release the pending stipend that wasn't disbursed within two weeks. Currently, the state provides a monthly stipend of Rs 700 to about 5,000 children who have been affected by militancy under the National Communal Harmony Scheme. Acting on a PIL filed by Javid Ahmad Tak, Chief Justice B A Khan and Justice Bashir A Kirmani directed the state government to take necessary steps to convene meetings of state-level coordination committee and the state executive committee regularly to review the status and implementation of policies and programmes for disabled particularly in the 6-14 age group. The court also directed the social welfare department to take steps for opening schools for disabled persons in Srinagar and Jammu and to explore the possibility of setting up similar schools in other districts as well. The court also directed the secretary to government of India, ministry of social justice and empowerment to consider all pending proposals of the state government on the subject and to ensure their clearance expeditiously. The directive has brought some measure of hope to more than one lakh children affected by the continued violence in the state. In response to the PIL, the state government deposed that there were many proposals lying before the Union ministry of social welfare, justice and empowerment awaiting sanction. There are about 36,714 physically challenged children in the state. Of these, 4,000 have impaired vision and an equal number suffer from hearing disability, according to Suriya Bhat, executive director, rehabilitation council, social welfare department.