Sinlung /
03 March 2014

Mizoram 'Unfriendly' to Disabled Persons

Aizawl, Mar 3 : Lalchhanchhuaha, a visually-impaired, was allegedly made to undergo a physical test just like normal people when he applied for a post in the state's environment and forests department recently.

"It was not until I made a complaint to the central government which issued a notice to the environment and forest department that I was appointed. The 'Person with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Rules 1995' has not been actually applied in job recruitments in the state," Lalchhandama, a graduate, had said.

R S Lalrinpuia, another visually-challenged person, also shared the most difficult chapter of life he had gone through subsequent to losing his sight after he got married. He had been denied admission into a government college in his hometown Saiha in southern Mizoram for three times. Only after social activists intervened he was granted admission.

According to visually-impaired Lalbuatsaiha, who is doing a PhD in JNU, about 10 persons with visual impairment have got jobs under the Mizoram government, not through reservation under the PWD Act, but out of sympathy from officials of the concerned department.

Lalhmingsanga, another visually-impaired youth, has been denied reservation he expected while applying for an admission to B Ed in IGNOU Aizawl regional centre. Seeking information under the RTI Act, he came to learn that his rights provided by the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights an Full Participation) Act 1955 are "violated" by the university.

"Whereas the Act states that people with 40 percent disability be certified as disabled, disability percentage was not mentioned in any of the disability certificates with which the university gave admission under reservation for people with disabilities," Lalhmingsanga said.

In the RTI document, the regional director of IGNOU stated that the guidelines for seats for PH (physically handicapped) candidates framed by the University does not mention the requirement of furnishing percentage of disabilities by the candidates.

"The PH candidates need not attach their disability certificate in application form for entrance test," it added. The disgruntled visually-impaired youth has made a written complaint to the commissioner for persons with disabilities urging her to take action against "violation" of his rights. The testimonies of the differently-abled persons highlighted the lack of awareness about the rights and privileges of the people with disabilities.

"Despite that the state government had adopted the 'Person with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Rules in 1999, the disabled persons have not fully enjoyed their rights in terms of job recruitments," said Vanlalremruata, general secretary of Differently-abled Society. "Besides, little has been done to make the state a barrier free environment for people confined to the wheelchairs," he added.

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