Welfare Association for Blind Manipur awaits government response

The association had submitted a memorandum to the chief minister on June 14, listing the difficulties faced by persons with visual impairments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Welfare Association for the Blind Manipur (WABM) on Thursday said that it is still waiting for a response from the state government regarding the issues of persons with visual impairments raised by the association. 

Speaking exclusively to the Imphal Free Press on Thursday, secretary of WABM Konsam Sadananda said WABM had submitted a memorandum to the chief minister on June 14, listing the difficulties faced by persons with visual impairments during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there has been no response from the state government even after two months, he said. Sadananda expressed hope that the state government will address the demands placed by the association in the memorandum and turn them into action.

The memorandum submitted to the chief minister stated that while COVID-19 is impacting the entire population, persons with disabilities have become more vulnerable to the disease due to their physical, sensory and cognitive limitations.

Therefore, there is a need to understand their disability specific requirements, daily living activities and take appropriate and timely measures to ensure their protection and safety during situations of risk, it stated. 

The memorandum mentioned that, “Section 8 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 guarantees equal protection and safety for persons with disabilities in these situations. It also mandates Disaster Management Authorities at district/State/national levels to take measures to include persons with disabilities in disaster management activities and to keep them duly informed about these.”

These authorities are mandatorily required to involve the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities during disaster management, it stated while adding that it is of utmost importance to organise special exclusive door-to-door vaccination drives for persons with disabilities in all districts at the earliest.

The memorandum also stated that a one-time financial assistance of Rs 5,000 should be provided to all persons with disabilities in relation to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

Further, the memorandum stated that all teachings and learning activities had been shifted to online mode due to closure of all educational institutions and learning centers across the state due to the pandemic.

Therefore, all necessary teaching learning materials like special software, smart phone, laptops, tablets and digital textbooks and other accessible teaching learning materials should be provided to all students with disabilities without delay, it added.

On August 29, All Manipur Students Union Manipur (AMSU) in a release had also appealed to the state government to look into demands placed by WABM in the memorandum.

WABM is an organisation formed by Persons with Visual Impairments, (PwVIs) and well-wishers from all across Manipur working towards empowerment and rehabilitation of PwVIs in the state.

First Published:Sept. 16, 2021, 10:50 p.m.

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