Mangaluru, Oct 02, 2015: The elderly from various parts of the district gathered to share their fate during the International Day of Older Persons - 2015 and free AYUSH treatment camp, organized by district administration, Zilla Panchayat, Women and Child Welfare Department, Department for Empowerment of Differently abled and Senior Citizens and AYUSH department along with various non-governmental organizations at Nethravathi auditorium on oct 1.
Senior citizens have sought low-floor buses and proper footpaths in the city for years, now demand them at the earliest. They also expected district administration to build a flyover to solve the problem of crossing the road at Hampankatta, which is a nightmare. They wanted concessional rates in Volvo and sleeper buses. The speed limit of service buses should be checked and the bus drivers must use dim-dipper at night and erratic honking should be checked, they added. Many said the city should have proper toilets. One elderly lady even requested the administration to allow mercy killing for the senior citizens.
DK DC Adoor B Ibrahim said that demand for mercy killing was sarcastic, and said that such a plea had been discussed in the Apex court and had also been rejected. Meanwhile, he said that the city would get 18 low-floor buses under JnNURM project. About repair of footpaths, Mangaluru City Corporation will prepare an action plan within three months. Direction would be given to bus owners in next RTA meeting to follow traffic rules. The city needs around 200 toilets and with good maintenance, he said.
Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer P I Sreevidya said that elders could also make use of Senior Citizens’ Act, which comes under the Central government.
MP Nalin Kumar Kateel said that the elderly were an asset to the nation and their experience helps in the development of the country. Many times problems are not conveyed to the respective persons. Age limit has become a technical hurdle for effective implementation of Sandhya Suraksha scheme. Needy should get information at their doorsteps.
MLC Ivan D’Souza promised that he would raise the demands of elderly people like concession in sleeper/Volvo buses, increasing pension under the Sandhya Suraksha scheme and many others in the upcoming Assembly session. Meanwhile, he opined that respective departments should create awareness among the elderly about the available schemes for them. Zilla Panchayat president Asha Timmappa Gowda said that Sullia taluk was in the forefront in the implementation of ’Grama Snehi’ programme, the distribution of identity cards to the elderly with the help of NGOs. District In-charge Minister Ramanath Rai inaugurated the programme and said that the government has implemented many schemes for elders that they can make use of.
Chennamma (Agriculture), Anasooya Honnappa (Education), Mohammad Baddoor (Literature) and Dr Arunachala Kumar (Health) were felicitated on the occasion for their achievements. Prizes were distributed to the winners in various competitions organised in different age categories. The special children of Saanidhya Residential School for the Mentally Challenged performed dance which was followed by a health camp.
Demands were voiced that when all kinds heads have a department / Ministry to handle them why not the Sr Citizens too have a Ministry / Department. Many old people who depend on their savings which are rapidly reduced in value by inflation and low bank interest on FDs the Govt needs to find a solution to this aspect too soon.
ZP Vice-president Sathish Kumpala, Women and Child Development Department Deputy Director Sundar Poojary, District Physically Challenged Welfare Officer Chandrika S Nayak, District Senior Citizens’ Association Secretary Ramesh Rao were present.