Mangalore, October 2: The government should provide better facilities to the needy senior citizens said the founder Principal and Social activist Olinda Pereira. She inaugurated the international senior citizens day organised under the collaboration of DK Zilla Panchayat, department of women and child welfare, department of specially abled and senior citizens empowerment and other organisations at Zilla Panchayat in Mangalore on October 1st.
She said that, government needs to put in place a mechanism to record and handle regrets of senior citizens at different levels and resolve them. Meets should be held at regular intervals to bring into the open the legitimate hardships and abuse faced by elders. She added that the senior citizens should utilise various facilities meant for them and the NGOs should create awareness among senior citizens on these.
Ramesh Rao Secretary of Mangalore senior Citizens Association said that since 2007, the association has distributed 21,000 senior citizen identity cards in the district.
On behalf of senior citizens, a memorandum was submitted to the government requesting to provide various facilities to senior citizens. The demands included strictly following the seats reservation in buses, 25% discount for senior citizens travelling by KSRTC Volvo and sleeper buses, hiking the old age pension under Sandhya Suraksha to Rs 2,000 etc. Women and Child Welfare Department Deputy Director Gertrude Veigas said that it is the duty of everyone to respect senior citizens. If the children don’t look after their old parents, they are liable for punishment under the law, she said and added that the non government organizations are joining hands with the government in the welfare of senior citizens. She said that 30,700 identity cards have been distributed by various NGOs in the district.
Among various opinions that were tossed about on this special day for ’Senior Citizens’ it was declared that the Govt should set up a Ministry for the welfare of senior citizens exclusively for better results. On the local level, a monitoring and grievance solving body should be set up to take up difficulties of senior citizens and particularly old age homes which are run without rules and regulations charging high fees.
On this occasion, retired teacher Somappa D Palan, Midwife Mutthu Madivalthi, and writer Prof B M Ichlangod were felicitated.
During this ceremony, P Jagadish Rao, President of Senior Citizen Association, Nodal Officer Sundar Poojary of Department of Women and Child Welfare, CDPO Shyamala, Chandrika Rao State Women’s Development Corporation district officer, retired ASP Mitra Heraje and others were present.