Mangaluru, October 2, 2016: Dakshina Kannada Zila Panchayat observed International Day of Elder Persons in a rare gesture and honoured a few elder citizens at the Nethravathi auditorium in Kottara in the forenoon of October 1, Saturday.
Karnataka Minister for food and civil supplies UT Khader inaugurated the program. Addressing those present the Minister said, “Our state government is considering many ways to make the life of elderly persons better. Their health is the biggest challenge. To improve their smile we have introduced ’Dantha Bhagya’ schemes to provide free Dentures for the elders below poverty line.”
MLA of Mangaluru South constituency JR Lobo in his address said, “Elders who are with us are the assets of our society. Every suggestion that you give for the betterment of the society and the city is valuable. Through this celebration we want to give the message that we care. Particularly the institutions who have the responsibility of the care of these must adopt fair and good means in day to day matters in the institutions.”
Speaking on the occasion MLA of Mangaluru North constituency Moidden Bawa said, “We are aware the youth of the city are in different directions today and change has made serious impact. When you were young the city was known for its religious and cultural harmony. Whenever you meet the younger generation you must put forth values of harmony and brotherhood among them. Colleges, schools and others must create opportunity for good interaction and exchange of ideas and support ”
A few elders from some known old age homes were brought to the venue to be part of the meet. On the occasion some of them spoke to media representatives and expressed their disappointment at the manner in which their megere incomes are reduced by Govt ignoring their hard situation. The medical care has sky rocketed and meeting the cost has made them destitute. Those who have children are not able to get their attention as conditions are so much changed that they have to live in harsh old age homes often. Also the public view of those in old age homes is very low causing harm to them. The people running the old age institutions charge high fees and donations in many cases. Often they exploit the bed ridden by charging high rates even for minor services which they list as routine earlier. Their life is not so easy some suggested as below:
A. Govt must have a dedicated Department and even Ministry for the aged as they increase in numbers. When they visit the current offices they are ignored. Most serving officials/volunteers are mainly catering to their own welfare, even funds are not utilized fairly and honestly.
B. Govt must put in place a monitoring empowered committee and/or machinery to check and look into the problems faced by aged people and the working/administration of the old age institutions. Interest rates for elders on the savings they only have to depend on must be better and reasonable, now they are reducing every day.
C . In many community institutions today, aged and elderly are a spent force and not counted. They are considered as ’Trash and scrap’. They are accorded the last place and acknowledged only where profit and benefit of money, property and valuables are seen. Yet, when polling day comes vested interests and political goons, hand in glove with authorities running old aged institutions cart them in a pathetic manner and ensure that that a vote is cast to benefit their supporters and parties.
The dignitaries held a ’Sanmaana’ for elderly persons including centurion Michal D’souza, ex-army man Jayesh Shetty and others.
General secretary of district legal services authority Mallanna Gowda, vice president of Zila Panchayat Kastoori Panja, Zila panchayat secretary NR Umesh, probationery IAS officer Gargi Jain, Mayor of MCC Hainath and others were present. The function was organized by Director of Women, Childcare and Senior Citizens Sundar Poojary and his department.