At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been emphasising on empowering the divyangs and showing sensitivity towards their needs, the BJP-run civic body, North Municipal Corporation of Delhi (North MCD), has chosen to turn a blind eye to ensuring even the basic rights of Dr Sumit Anand, a Medical Officer with locomotor disability.
Not only has he been denied his due salary increment for the last four years since he joined the medical cadre, the young doctor, at an urban health centre at Karol Bagh, has also not been paid his salary since June, this year.
As if this unlawful denial is not enough. His application for disability rights and privileges, enshrined under the guidelines issued by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DPwD), Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, is gathering dust in his department for the last two years.
This, despite having Delhi Government and Central Government issued disability certificates, which entitles him disability rights and privileges.
In another instance of the civic body’s stark insensitivity towards the needs of the persons with disabilities, the young officer has also not been provided with a disabled-friendly chair to help him carry out his day-to-day official activities.
Dr Anand, however, has not let this indifference hinder his performance. During the lockdown period due to Covid-19, Dr Anand reported daily for duty, for which he was recognised with Corona Warrior certificates, first by the then Deputy Commissioner, Central Delhi Arav Gopi Krishna and then Balram Meena, SDM, Karol Bagh.
“When I complained about non-payment of salary to the department, the officials are pressurising me to sign a faulty salary pay-bill without increment and disability-related benefits,” he said adding the apathy has left him and his old parents, who are dependent on him, mentally and financially drained out.
Having failed to get justice from the civic body, the Lieutenant Governor, New Delhi, the Union Health Ministry, the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Dr Anand is now pinning hopes on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which has registered his case for further action.
Talking about his disability, Dr Anand said, his was a case of medical negligence when treatment for an enlarged lymph node led to the gradual paralysis of a nerve leading to his right shoulder when he was doing his MD. He had to give up his dreams of doing specialisation and joined the North MCD in the medical cadre.
“It is very disappointing that bright people like Anand, who cleared MBBS and then UPSC in the first attempt have to go through such discrimination only because they are physically disabled.
“Instead of honouring their commitment and boosting their morale, the North MCD is finding new ways to harass such Corona warriors. This must stop and he should be delivered his dues immediately to send a positive message among the community,” said Dr Satendra Singh, an activist for people with disabilities.