People with Disabilities in Meghalaya are facing immense hardship amid lockdown

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People with Disabilities (PwDs) in Meghalaya are facing immense hardship amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown and the irregular disbursement of benefits which they are entitled to.

This was brought to the fore by Khasi Disabilities Association (CB) president Starwin Kharjana who said on Monday that there is irregular disbursement of the Rs 500 that each PwD is entitled to every month under the Chief Minister’s Social Assistance Scheme for Persons with Disabilities.

“The disbursement of Rs 500 per person from the Meghalaya Chief Minister’s Social Assistance Scheme for Persons with Disabilities via the office of the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) is very irregular,” Kharjana said.

Informing that sometimes they have to wait up to one year to get this scheme, Kharjana urged the state government to enhance this scheme and make all the payments which are due immediately.

He further said that PwDs who also fall under the BPL category and who have attained the age of 18 are entitled a sum of Rs 500 per month under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) which is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Government of India.

Informing that there are 1,509 PwDs in Meghalaya who are entitled to this scheme, he said that the last time the scheme was received via the Block Development Officer was in October 2019.

“The government should release all these schemes especially in these trying times because this is the only source that the PWDs can depend on,” he said.

Kharjana said the government should also make an advance payment of the scheme for April, May and June 2020, so that PwDs can buy all the essential commodities and necessary items because of the 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, Kharjana also said that the association has not received any response with regards to the letter they sent to the Director, Directorate of Social Welfare, Government of Meghalaya, Shillong on March 20 where they have urged for the release of various grants which include the scholarship, book grant, uniform grant, conveyance allowance, unemployment allowance.

He said that the government has not released the allowance for the year 2019-20 and many PwDs from poor backgrounds need the money to pay school fees apart from their basic needs.