Mr Muralidharan, General Secretary, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) expressed his grave concern at the developments that have taken place in the Lakshwadeep archipelago ever since the new administrator took over. he mentioned that the administration is making no efforts to replenish the stock of crucial medicines when the people inhabiting the islands are facing a severe shortage of drugs for the past several months, including those prescribed to patients with mental health issues, disabled on high support needs etc.
Lakshwadeep does not have full-fledged hospitals for treatment of severe medical conditions and patients have to be brought to the mainland. The three air ambulances available for this purpose have not been deployed for transporting patients and instead are being used for purposes of tourism and other administrative purposes. The constitution of a four-member body to look into applications for transporting serious patients has not only led to delay but denial of the service itself. This is condemnable.
In a display of utter callousness and contempt, the administration has delayed the disbursal of pension, even in the midst of the pandemic situation. Pensions to disabled persons are pending for the last several months. Disbursals under the Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme have not been done since September 2020 and under the Union Territory Lakshwadeep Pension Scheme for six months for a large number of beneficiaries. No attempt has been made to convene a meeting of the State Advisory Board on Disability which decides on crucial issues concerning the disabled community, though it is supposed to meet every six months.
There is widespread resentment and anger against the slew of measures that seek to change the very nature of the islands itself as also of the inaction on various pressing needs of the people including the disabled. A person insensitive to the needs of disabled and other marginalised should not continue in office.