CHENNAI: While the spread of COVID-19 continues to make life miserable, the 133 crore relief fund announced by the state government for the 13.35 lakh certified differently-abled people remains undistributed despite three months.
It was on June 16 Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced that people with disabilities in Tamil Nadu who hold identity cards would be given Rs 1,000 as financial assistance to survive pandemic blues.
The Chief Minister had also said that officials from the Civil Supplies Department will disburse funds at their doorsteps in Chennai and parts of three neighbouring districts - Thiruvallur, Chengalpattu and Kanchipuram districts from June 22.
P. Simma Chandran, President, Tamil Nadu Differently-Abled Federation, said they did get only 60 percent of the declared relief so far, but officials had no clue on when the rest of the amount will be distributed.
"The Chief Minister said that officials would distribute the fund at doorstep, but none of them have come to our house with the fund. We were forced to travel to the Commissionerate of the Welfare of the Differently-abled to get the amount. We were asking for the rest of the amount for more than a month now. But when we asked the Commissioner of Differently-Abled , he used to tell us that it would be disbursed after approval from the district collector. When we contacted the collector, they told us it would be under the purview of the Corporation Commissioner. The reality is we have still been left unpaid," said Chandran.
Chandran also said most of the differently-abled people stranded at the home for many months as they were unable to get their walking supports repaired due to cash-strapped.
Johny Tom Varghese, Commissioner for Differently-Abled, when contacted, admitted the pendency in the disbursal of und by saying that it was under process. "There are few pending, in Chennai especially. Any differently abled with an NIDC (National Identity and Disability Certificate) card can claim. The eligible people can make a call to the helpline number 18004250111," he said.