Udupi, Nov 02, 2017: Udupi in-charge, Pramod Madhwaraj, Minister of State for Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports, said on Nov 1, Wednesday that the decision of the human rights activist Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag to decline the State-level Rajyotsava Award was a personal one.
Replying to queries of media, Minister Madhwaraj said that he supported Dr. Shanbhag’s fight for the rights of the senior citizens, poor and other causes. But Dr. Shanbhag wanted immediate results, while the administrative machinery moved at a slower pace. However, it was questioned that Dr.Shanbhag’s on going efforts were more than 10 years old.
As regards the implementation of the Maintenance and Protection of Senior Citizens Act, 2007, these were mostly property disputes between parents and children. In some cases, parents themselves gave up properties to children and after some time rescinded the same. It was difficult to solve these problems quickly. They had to be probed in detail. The Revenue Department took more time in dealing with these cases. “I only hope that Dr. Shanbhag has some patience in this matter,” he said.
While it was true that Dr. Shanbhag had not applied for the award, the government had received 3,500 to 4,000 applications for it. A government department had forwarded Dr. Shanbhag’s biodata and hence he was chosen for the award. But after he refused, the names of others were considered, he said.
On Dr. Shanbhag’s allegation that the former Deputy Commissioners of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada had not cooperated in solving problems relating to the Act and endosulfan victims, Minister Madhwaraj said that the officers concerned must be questioned.
Some present at the meet raised the point that the State and Center need to put in place a full fledged Ministry for the aged and sick welfare.
Since they were elected representatives, they had to respond to the problems of people irrespective of bureaucratic apathy, he said. The minister stated that he support the fight and demands, and Dr.Shanbagh’s requests are genuine, However, at government level things cannot happen within a day, its own time and process is the key.