Urging the government to take actions to implement laws for persons with disabilities in its entirety, eminent rights activist Sultana Kamal yesterday said the allowance provided for them is not sufficient.
“Each of them [person with disabilities] is given a monthly allowance of only Tk 700, which is by no means enough,” she said. “Moreover, local representatives pocket the first six months’ money as a ‘fee’ for the allowance card. They should also be brought under recent drives,” she added.
The chairperson of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) made the comments at a press conference on the implementation of “Protection of the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Act- 2013”.
National Council of Disabled Women (NCDW) with support from Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and USAID organised the event at Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Sultana Kamal in her speech as chief guest alleged that various media use demeaning words to identify a person with disabilities, which should be stopped.
The former caretaker government adviser also mentioned that the country’s development is not reflected in the lives of its citizens.
“We are on the highway of development and have become a role model in this regard… but with that development have we been able to move humanity forward in the same pace?” she questioned.
She further said the evil of corruption still lurks in the country.
“Now development means we have roads and big projects…,” she said, adding that development reflects in buying pillows and covers at exorbitant prices. The country has made tremendous progress in corruption, the rights activist said.
About people with disabilities, she said although the prime minister’s intention was to protect them, officials were reluctant to implement that. When the act was passed, no one took the initiative to implement it, she said.
She also stressed that the government should take action against corrupt sectors, as it did against casinos. “University students are being beaten, people are being treated unfairly and banks are being scammed. But we are not talking about those,” she added.
Speakers at the event also discussed about the compensation application and settlement under the Rights and Protection of Individuals with Disabilities Act.
NCDW President Nasima Akter said it is disappointing to see the government failing to implement the act. “In the last six years, no progress has been made,” she said.
According to the World Health Organization statistics, the number of people with disabilities in the country is 5.7 percent of the population.
Speakers commented that the country’s development is not possible without the development of people with disabilities. NCDW General Secretary Sajeda Akter presented the keynote paper while BLAST’s research adviser Tajul Islam and President of Bangladesh Female Journalists’ Association Nasimun Ara Haque also spoke.