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April 22, 2019

Non-availability of data hampering efforts to facilitate the disabled

Peshawar

April 22, 2019

PESHAWAR: The non-availability of proper data about the exact number of the physically challenged people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could be rightly termed one of the main hurdles preventing the government to take solid steps for their wellbeing.

The disclosure was made by Muhammad Idrees Khan, Secretary of the Social Welfare Department, when he was reached for his comments about the steps being taken to facilitate the disabled.

However, he hastened to add that the Social Welfare Department had started an initiative to collect the data from each district in the province to facilitate the physically challenged people.

He added his department was providing free education, transportation, tuition, hostel and other facilities to the disabled.

The official said, “We have planned a new project “Social Audit of Social Welfare Facilities” in which new jobs, mobility devices and other facilities would be available for the disabled.”

He said the Planning and Development Department had introduced a policy to ensure the construction of disabled friendly structures.

Five percent budget was allocated for social welfare in the Annual Development Programme, he said, added that they had sent a summary to the chief minister to order the establishment of six new special education schools and upgradation of 11 special schools in various districts.

He said these schools would be established in Swabi, Charsadda, Karak, Malakand, Kohat and Mardan. He said that two of these schools would be for the disabled girls.

Earlier, talking to The News, Friends of Paraplegics General Secretary Engineer Irfanullah said the disabled in KP were facing a host of problems and asked the government to allocate four percent quota in jobs and ensure the availability of other facilities to help them overcome their disability.

He said two percent quota was reserved for the physically challenged persons in accordance with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Amendment Act, 2012.

However, he said that many public sector departments did not follow the rules to appoint the disabled.

Irfanullah pointed out that procedure for obtaining the disability certificate was another challenge for the disabled.

Explaining the cumbersome procedure to get the disability certificate, he said that a disabled person was supposed to collect a form from the Social Welfare Department in Peshawar and then visit several hospitals for checkup to prove the disability.

Irfanullah said that Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan provinces had reserved four to five percent quota in jobs for the disabled. He said the KP chief minister Mahmood Khan also announced recently to increase the job quota for the disabled from two to four percent, but it was yet to be materialised.

He explained that 44 special education schools were established in the province where 2,500 special students were enrolled, but there are several districts where the disabled have no facility for education.

“One seat was reserved in all public sectors universities for the disabled in MPhil and PhD programme, but unfortunately only Peshawar based universities follow it as no seat is reserved for physically challenged in other districts of the province,” he claimed.

He said the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) facilitate the disabled and issue them life-time card since the last two years.

The Social Welfare Department Director Abdul Ghafoor Shah said the procedure for disability certificate was being made easy and simple.

He said there was an assessment committee in each district with four members, including its chairman.

He added that the committee was headed by the District Officer of Social Welfare department while the District Health Officer and Medical Superintendent of District Headquarters Hospital with concerned specialisation would be the members of the committee.

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