Disabled law student, stranded in Delhi for over a month, is finally home

NEW DELHI: For Mayank Pandey, 26, it's a homecoming like never before. Blind and suffering from paralysis on his hands, this sophomore law student at Delhi University finally returned to his village in Kanpur (rural) earlier this week after being stranded in Delhi due to a coronavirus.

In reaction to an SOS from Mayank Pandey, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment's People Empowerment Department with (DEPwD) coordinated a rehabilitation operation with authorities in Uttar Pradesh amid movement restrictions to help Pandey return to your home before. week.

This was before the Interior Ministry issued guidelines to allow the movement of migrants, students, tourists, pilgrims and other stranded in different parts of the country due to the blockade.

Now, DEPwD has decided to share MHA guidelines with state disability commissioners and its network with various stakeholders so that, if disabled people are stranded anywhere, they can receive assistance in returning home.

Meanwhile, after weeks of dependence on a friend in Delhi who sheltered him in his rented accommodation, Pandey says he is now less anxious and calmer as he is back home with his parents during the ongoing blockade.

“Now I can focus on preparing for my exams now. I also want to continue my paralysis treatment at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital in Delhi, but it appears that it will not be possible now until this crisis subsides, Pandey told TOI by phone. Pandey's story of being stranded in a confinement reflects how a lockdown situation can be puzzling for a disabled person.

Pandey's anxiety is understandable. While he has learned over the years to cope and overcome the challenges of total blindness, it is his inability to use his hands due to paralysis, caused by a brain hemorrhage last year, making it impossible for him being alone.

He shared that he tried to book a train to return to his town before the Janata curfew on March 22, but was unable to obtain a ticket as some trains were canceled. Under the impression that the shelters were to be closed, he also left the room in the hostel like many others. He sought the help of a friend who lives in Burari and moved into his rented apartment. She later learned that authorities had said that those living in shelters would be allowed to stay there. However, it was impossible for him to return as the partial block had entered into force in Delhi on March 23 and then the complete block occurred on March 25.

“I was somehow managing with the help of my friend, but he had also approached the Uttarakhand authorities to help him return to his hometown. The uncertainty made me anxious and I contacted the UP authorities who connected me with the DEPwD of the Ministry of Social Justice in Delhi, ”Pandey shared. When I shared my concern with a senior official on April 26 and told him that my friend was also planning to go to his village, they contacted the district authorities in Delhi and UP to arrange an electronic pass and transport to transport me. back. I arrived in my town the night of April 28, he added.

Citing that the focus was on coordination to address concerns arising from the current crisis, DEPwD Secretary Shakuntala Gamlin told TOI that there is now a system from the district to the state where the disability commissioner is the nodal officer for make decisions and take action in coordination with district administration on a wide range of concerns, from electronic passes, to any missing or stranded persons with disabilities, to food and ration requirements. Based on concerns raised so far, orders, letters and letters have been issued to concerned authorities that clearly establish the role of all involved so that immediate action can be taken, Gamlin added.

Affirming the importance of coordination at this time, Anjlee Agarwal, founder of the civil society organization, shared that, like the Mayank Pandey case, different types of concerns have emerged in the past month. Agarwal has been studying cases and following interventions with DEPwD and state commissioners.

“It all started with efforts to address concerns about electronic passes for caregivers and assistants of people with disabilities, and over the weeks, a comprehensive outreach system has been formed with disability commissioners in a group. Modes like Twitter are also being used to provide information and respond to those in distress, ”Agarwal shared, citing his experience as a CSO member in the group.

He cited a case in which his organization had received an SOS in which about seven people with disabilities had no food supplies for nearly 15 days, as they were trapped in a remote hilltop village in Manipur. The matter was reported to the state disability commissioner and he responded by contacting these families with the ration and required food supplies, Agarwal added.

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