SHILLONG, Dec 3: On the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday, the Federation of Persons with Disabilities (FPD) in Meghalaya took to the streets demanding the implementation of 4 per cent job reservation in the various departments of the state.
As part of their agitation, the members of the federation staged a sit-in demonstration, at the Additional Secretariat Parking Lot in the city.
FPD leader, Starwin Kharjana said that the differently-abled face difficulties in getting job reservations.
Kharjana said that the government brought out a notification that state government departments should reserve 4 percent jobs for the People With Disabilities (PWDs), but when they meet the officers of the various departments they refuse to recognise them.
“If this is their attitude it shows that the notification of the government is only a blank paper and it seems that it does not have any bearing on them to reserve jobs for us,” the leader of the FPD said.
He pointed out that has forced the members of the PWDs to take to the street to demands for their rights.
Kharjana also said that the PWDs are entitled for schemes from the National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (NHFDC), which is disbursed through the Apex Bank in the state so that they can start their own business.
“If we apply for this scheme we have to go through the various branches of the Apex Banks. But there are certain branches which harass us despite submitting all the documents as prescribed,” Kharjana said.
He said that there are seven to eight branches which act as stumbling blocks for PWDs to stand on their own feet by harassing them. He also said that if the government cannot provide PWDs with government jobs it can at least give them alternate opportunities to stand n their own feet.
Kharjana said that the scheme is given as loans to the PWDs with small interest.
“The loan is given at the rate of 5 percent for women and 6 percent for women,” the FPD leader said.
He also said that the PWDs are entitled to get housing schemes under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) where 5 percent are reserved for them.
“In some blocks we have help our colleagues to apply so that they get entitlements under the scheme but these applications have gone missing,” Kharjana alleged.
He said that such applications are in Thadlaskein Block, Jirang Block, Umsning Block, Mawphlang Block, Mairang Block and Pynursla Block where the entitlements of the beneficiaries were taken away and given to other residents.
The FPD leader also said that currently, a PWD who has passed class ten, and from the age of 21 years to 42 years is entitled to Rs 1000 entitlement per month as “unemployment allowance”.
“We want the government to hike this amount and to be at par with the muster roll workers who are employed in the different departments,” Kharjana said.
“If the government can’t provide jobs they should hike this unemployment allowance. If they do so it will be beneficial for us who have passed our studies,” he added.
The Federation has also threatened to seek legal recourse against the Meghalaya government if it fails to implement fully the job reservation in accordance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, at the earliest.
The FPD leader also said that if the government does not listen to their demands they will stage another agitation on December 19.