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Disability News India (DNI)

Disability News India (DNI), is a disability News service dedicated to providing a quality up-to-date information to the Indian Disability. DNI's news section is updated two times a week, though we also add breaking stories as and when they occur.

Disability News India – Nov - Dec 2008 Issue

Have a Metro query? Ask the helpline

NEW DELHI: Now, you can get all information about Delhi Metro or lodge a complaint about the corporation at a new round–the–clock customer care helpline. As riderships on the system is soaring to over 9.5 lakh commuters a day, and many more lines getting operational as a part of Phase II operations, the helpline is aimed at providing speedy solutions to public queries and addressing grievances.

So whether its finding out what time the last train from a particular station leaves, or the location of metro stations, or even a complaint about inconvenience caused at a Delhi Metro construction site, all you need to do is call the helpline at 128128. Information about feeder bus routes and timings, and security and safety issues will also be provided at the same helpline.

For disabled people, the helpline will also arrange assistance in the form of wheelchairs etc. All that the person needs to do is to call the helpline and inform Delhi Metro of the time when they will reach a particular Metro station. The request for assistance will be forwarded and help be arranged. For the record, about 149 physically disabled people and 78 blind commuters use the Metro system daily. Delhi Metro provides wheelchair facilities to old and disabled people at all Metro stations.

The operators manning the lines stationed at the Shastri Park Metro depot have been briefed to forward all complaints to the concerned officials and in cases that demand urgent action, this will be done with immediate effect. All calls will be recorded and the number also has a caller identification facility.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) clarified that the helpline is not a toll free number. But it can be accessed even from cellphones and by those residing out of Delhi by dialling 011–128128.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Disability meet on media role

Ranchi, Dec. 22: Media has a special role to play when it comes to upholding the rights of disabled people.

Keeping this in view, a media advocacy workshop was today organised by Nav Bharat Jagruti Kendra, a Hazaribagh–based NGO working for mentally and physically disabled people in collaboration with the state disability development human welfare department.

Speaking at the occasion, the chief guest and disability commissioner Satish Chandra said: "It's really sad that the media today is insensitive to the rights of disabled people. Why is it so that when an issue related to the disabled surfaces, only insignificant news appears in some obscure column? Most television channels and newspapers are running after TRPs and circulation. Issues such as disability do not fit into their marketing strategies. But media, as the voice of the masses, has the obligation to highlight such social concerns."

The meet also dwelled on a host of other issues ? need to grant disability certificate, provisions for a pension scheme, reservation of three per cent in government jobs and arrangement for vocational training. The speakers further stressed that all public places should be made disabled friendly and special hand pumps and toilets should be erected in rural areas for the convenience of the visually impaired.

"In states like Gujarat and Maharashtra, school curriculum books are available in Braille. But the disabled schoolchildren of this state do not enjoy any such facility. There are not even enough teachers for the special kids even though the government has made a special allocation," said Satish Girija, the secretary of the NGO.

Source: http://www.telegraphindia.com/

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'Torture caused permanent disability'Disability meet on media role

Bangalore: Following the RT Nagar police station raid by State Human Rights Commission IGP Bipin Gopal Krishna and South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) a few weeks ago, SICHREM convener Prakash Kariappa on Friday said one of the illegal detainees was tortured so badly that he is permanently disabled person.

Gopi, a roadroller driver, is being treated at Nimhans for the wounds caused by RT Nagar police. He met SICHREM members on Friday and gave his version of the torture. Prakash said Gopi was tortured by the Bombay katu' method. His hands and legs were tied and a rod inserted from between the knees to lift him onto a table. "The pressure on the feet causes nerves to tear. There are no signs of external injury," he said.

"Gopi is left with a limp for the rest of his life. He has three young children. We are waiting for the complete medical report and will file a writ petition after that,'' said Prakash.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Physically disabled woman 'harassed'

DHENKANAL, Dec. 19: A physically disabled woman of Gurujunga village in Gengutia panchayat here was denied a house under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) despite the approval of her application.

Under the IAY reservation for the handicapped, Ms Pratima Biswal's application for a house was reportedly approved by the sadar block administration. After an inquiry by a three member committee, she was given a work order on 11 August and was asked to complete her house construction by 30 November.

After she has made the arrangements and informed the officials concerned, she was instructed to collect her cheque of Rs 25,000 from the block office. However on reaching the block office she was denied the cheque on the grounds that her brother had already availed a house for the family with his BPL card.

"An error in the information management system may have resulted in the confusion," said the sadar block development officer, Mr Bijay Kumar Prusty and added that the officials have been instructed to conduct an enquiry about the family to avoid any problems in future.

Source: http://www.thestatesman.net/

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Employment of Disabled people in the Private Sector

LOK SABHA: In the budget speech of 2007–08, Government committed support for the creation of about 1,00,000 jobs every year for physically challenged persons with a salary limit of Rs.25,000 per month through a Scheme wherein, Government agreed to reimburse the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) and the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) for the first three years, once the physically challenged employee is regularized and enrolled under the Scheme. Accordingly, a Central Sector Scheme of providing incentives to employers in private sector by way of bearing employer's contribution to the Employees Provident Fund Organization and Employees State Insurance Corporation for the first three years, in respect of persons with disabilities, appointed on or after 1.4.2008 with monthly wage up to Rs.25,000/– has been introduced from 1.4.2008.

While the Employees Provident Fund Organization has reported having received claims for availing the incentives under the Scheme in respect of 33 employees with disabilities so far, the Employees State Insurance Corporation has reported having covered 21 such employees so far.

The following steps have been taken to intensify the implementation of the scheme: –

Scheme was sent by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on 26th February, 2008, to all Ministries/ Departments of Government of India, all States/ UTs, Chambers of Commerce & Industry and NGOs working in the Disability Sector.

Ministry of Labour & Employment issued necessary notification under the EPFO and ESI Act on 31.3.2008. EPFO and ESIC issued details guidelines about the scheme to their respective offices in May, 2008.

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has sanctioned advance amount of Rs.1 crore and 50 lakh to EPFO and ESIC, respectively to enable them to pay employers' contribution as soon as valid claims are received.

Advertisements about the scheme are being published in newspapers at regular intervals.

Ministries of Social Justice & Empowerment and Labour & Employment, the Employees Provident Fund Organization and the Employees State Insurance Corporation have prominently publicized the scheme on their websites.

Minister (SJ&E) personally wrote to all State Chief Ministers/ Administrators of UTs in August, 2008 requesting them to publicised the scheme and to have its progress monitored regularly.

Letters were sent by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in October., 2008 to Chairmen and Chief Executives of FICCI, CII, NASSCOM, ASSOCHAM and PHDCCI requesting wide publicity of the Scheme, and to encourage their members to avail of the Scheme by appointing persons with disabilities.

FICCI organized a National Conference on engaging industry in employment of persons with disabilities on the 17th October, 2008.

Twenty past recipients of National Award for Best Employers of persons with disabilies were individually requested in September 2008 to employ more persons with disabilities and publicize the Scheme.

State Welfare Secretaries in a Conference held on 17–18 October 2008, were requested to ensure intensive implementation of the scheme in their respective States/ UTs.

The High Level Monitoring Committee constituted for the scheme has held two meetings so far, to, inter–alia, chalk out steps necessary to intensify implementation of the scheme

This information was given by Smt. Subbulakhmi Jagadeesan, the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp

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Workshop on disability opens

Imphal, Dec 15: A two–day Regional Workshop on Disability organized by the Manipur Human Rights Commission along with the National Human Rights Commission was inaugurated today at 1st Batallion Riffles banquet Hall as part of a yearly initiative of holding such regional workshops for the Northern Region (Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pardesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh); Eastern region (Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and Chattisgarh); Western region (Rajashthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Daman & Diu, Dadra and Nagar haveli); Southern region (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, Andaman & Nicobar) and the North East region (Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim).

Addressing participants and delegates at the workshop, Th. Devendra Singh, Minster (Law & legislative Affairs) said that the enactment of the Persons with disabilities Act, 1995 that provides for equal opportunities, protection of Rights and full participation of people with disabilities was a major achievement in the Indian disability movement.

"This Act aims to promote and protect the economic and social rights of people with disabilities", he said.

Delegates from the North Eastern region attending the workshop deliberated on issues around disability in relation to education, employment, access and services.

A press release from the Manipur Equestrian Association has notified that there will be a Residential Coaching Camp cum Practice Session for those players who are to take part in the forthcoming 34th National Games at Ranchi, Jharkhand. The camp will be held at the Manipur Pony Breeding farm, Lamphelpat near Cheiraoba Chingkhong from December 22 onwards according to the release, which has intimated all Equestrian players to report to the coach of the association, Shri. Th. Basantakuma within Dec 20.

Source: http://www.kanglaonline.com

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Nokia plans to design handsets for disabled people

KOLKATA: In an effort to take the mobile phone to the next billion worldwide, Nokia has started research to roll out handsets, specifically designed for disabled people.

The world's largest handset vendor plans to undertake extensive research in India to understand the consumer behaviour of people with visual or hearing problems, towards the mobile phone.

Nokia is exploring ways to make the mobile phone friendly for such consumers. This could be done through using a different user interface, using icons and pictures in the menu and the phonebook instead of text, using large fonts, louder ringing tones and voice commands.

These phones might have a different design aspect where India will also play a vital role. Talking to ET during his recent visit to India, Nokia global director, product group (entry business unit, mobile phones) Heikki Koivu said the challenge to sustain growth will be to reach out to consumers who do not use a mobile phone.

"We then have to address issues like physical disabilities, low vision, poor hearing and illiteracy. We also need to design phones that can support hearing aids," he said. Mr Koivu said India is a focus market for Nokia to understand consumer behaviour of mobile phones among disabled people

"It is due to the sheer size of the population in this country. We have started adapting such features in some entry–level handsets like Nokia 1650 shipped to emerging countries like India. But, this will now attain more bigger scale," said Mr Koivu.

India and China are two of Nokia's largest markets for entrylevel phones. The entry–level portfolio includes handsets, which are priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 5,000. Nokia is also planning to bundle its internet services 'Ovi' in the entrylevel phones sold in India.

"We are planning to bundle most of the Ovi applications in handsets shipped to India, including the music services Nokia Music Store. All such integration will take place over the next three years for the entry –level handsets. We need to simplify these applications to suit the consumer preferences in emerging markets," said Mr Koivu.

Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

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FCIK for giving economic stability to persons with disability

Srinagar, Dec 6: To mark the world disability awareness week the Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) has appealed to the entrepreneurs to provide employment to the persons with disability, wherever possible, in order to make them self–dependent.

"It is very necessary to provide employment to the persons with disabilities so that they are able to lead a life of dignity with economic independence. Therefore we are appealing to the entrepreneurs to help these people in this regard," said Shakeel Qalandar, president, FCIK.

He said there was a central government scheme giving incentives to the employers in the private sector for providing employment to the persons with disabilities. "The scheme was introduced in April, 2008 and the employers can take the benefit of this scheme and thus help the disabled persons," he said.

The Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, mandates 3 per cent reservation in suitably identified posts in government establishments for persons with disability, he said.

"This provision is being implemented by the central and all state governments, including PSUs and autonomous bodies fully funded by the government," said Qalandar.

He said there were numerous examples of the persons with disability being gainfully employed.

Blind persons, for instance, are practicing as High Court lawyers, chartered accountants, etc. A number of blind persons perform BPO and other jobs using talking software (JAWS). "A premier software company has employed a blind person as a risk analyst," he said.

Besides, many persons with mental retardation have been working efficiently in printing industry doing various jobs, like cutting of paper. Then many persons with hearing impairment perform various jobs in the assembly units. Moreover, a large number of persons with locomotive disability also do a wide variety of jobs successfully.

Persons with disability are now also being recruited into All India Services and Group 'A' posts in the central services, said Qalandar.

"They have thus proved themselves to be the productive members of the workforce in various employments," he said.

"In fact, in many cases, they have proved themselves to be better employees than even those without disabilities," he added.

The government, he said, has been supporting the vocational training of the persons with disabilities.

"20 Vocational Rehabilitation Centers (VRC) are being run by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in seventeen states and two union territories to assess the capacity of these people and train them accordingly, so that they may take up suitable vocations. These 20 VRCs have rehabilitated about 11,200 persons with disability in 2006," he said.

"One of the VRCs in Vododara is exclusively meant for women with disabilities," he added.

About 200 NGOs are supported by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for providing vocational training to the disabled persons, he said.

"There are also 43 Special Employment Exchanges, catering exclusively to the persons with disability and also 38 Special Cells for them, under Special Placement Officers attached to a normal employment exchange," he said.

Source: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/

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Govt's own homes turn a blind eye to disabled people

Kolkata: Partha Banerjee, a lower division clerk suffering from locomotive disability, had the opportunity to be a Government employee. But he still depends on his colleagues to take him in and out of his office, the New Secretariat building, which is not barrier–free.

It comes as no surprise that after years of promising to recognise the rights of the differently–abled people, some of the important government buildings are still not barrier–free. On a World Disabled Day function, Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi said: "The physical access is a major problem that needs to be addressed. At the Governor's House, there is provision of ramp but this facility should be made available to other government utility buildings," said Gandhi.

Section 46 of the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995 maintains that the appropriate governments and local authorities shall, within the limits of their economic capacity and development, provide for ramps in public buildings. But a reality check shows that some of the most important public utility buildings in the city do not have the proper provisions of accessibility for disabled people.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com

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Survey highlights the plight of disabled people

PUNE: A recent survey highlighted the problems faced by disabled people at the court and public premises.

The survey on the lawyers' chambers, libraries, toilets, canteens and parking areas of the different courts in the city was conducted by students Nikhil Baji, who is suffering from cerebral palsy, Siddhesh who is blind and Sanjay Jadhav, a social worker and member of the Sahyog Trust's Human Rights and Law Defenders (HRLD).

Baji, a law student at the Gujrat National Law University, said, "The survey was a revelation in itself. I use a crutch to walk around, but it will be even more difficult for people who need a wheel chair in these areas. Though there are a lot of provisions in the Disabilities Act 1995, their is zero implementation," he said.

"Facilities to enable the disabled to enter court premises and lifts should be looked into. Rams should be installed everywhere. And auditory instructions for the blind is also necessary," said Baji.

Special amendment in the act is needed. It should have penalty clauses and the new townships and offices that are coming up should also look into the matter, he added.

"The accessibility to courts for the disabled people should not be an issue at all and the authorities should take an affirmative action." Sarode said, adding "We need a right approach and correct infrastructure for them. Problems like moving around without assistance in public places is their right which should not be violated."

"Implementation of the act is a problem and the government should solve the problems faced by the disabled. It is high time that the matter is looked into seriously," said Dr W N Tungar, a social activist who have been working for the rights of disabled people.

What the Act says:

The section 46 of the Disabilities Act 1995 states that in order to create a physical barrier free environment for disabled persons, the appropriate governments or local authorities shall, within the limits of their economic capacity and development, provide for:

Ramps in public building
Adaptation of toilets for wheel chair users
Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts
Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other medical care and rehabilitation institutions

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

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On World Disability Day, special children denied entry to Pinjore Garden

Chandigarh: A group of special students of Sawera Special School were not allowed entry to the Pinjore Garden on Wednesday, for lack of sufficient money to pay for the tickets. The denial could not have come at a more inopportune moment, on the occasion of World Disability Day.

The school, which runs classes for special children in Chandigarh and Mohali, had decided to take its students out for a to Pinjore Garden on Wednesday.

Principal of the school, Neel Ratan, said the official at the ticket counter refused to give any discount despite repeated requests.

"A total of 57 persons had gone to Pinjore, out of which, 47 were students. As the ticket is priced at Rs 20, the total amount to be paid was Rs 1,200. We requested the official to give us a discount on the occasion of World Disability Day, but he refused to lessen the price to Rs 1,000. Since we were unable to afford the amount, we came back," Neel Ratan said.

He maintained that while they were unable to afford the money, the authorities too did not show any compassion especially on the occasion of World Disability Day, which was being celebrated across the world.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/

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Punjab government provides financial assistance to 102074 disabled persons

CHANDIGARH: Punjab government was committed to provide equal opportunities with disabilities to enable them to lead a life of Independence & dignity and for this purpose Punjab government was giving Rs. 250/– per month per person as financial assistance to 102074 disabled persons in the state who were having at least 50 percent disability.

Disclosing this here on Tuesday Ch. Swarna Ram Social Security and Welfare of Women and Child Development Minister Punjab said that this assistance was giving to permanently disabled blind, orthopedically handicapped deaf and dumb and mentally challenged persons. The Financial assistance would provided from the first of the month in which the medical certificate issued by the Medical Officer.

He further said that the monthly income of the applicant would not exceed Rs. 1000/– per month in case of individual and Rs. 1500/– if husband and wife both are alive. In case a applicant is not earning then the income of his parents would not exceed Rs. 2500/– per month in case such parents have more than two children, their income would not exceed Rs. 3000/– per month.

The Minister also said that the Punjab Government has earmarked Rs. 2600 lac as budget provision for the year 2008–09 to provide financial assistance to disabled persons.

Source: http://www.punjabnewsline.com

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Disabled people should get free education: NHRC

Bangalore : Disability is a human rights issue, according to justice S Rajendra Babu, chairperson of NHRC, at the concluding session of southern region workshop on disability organised by the National Human Rights Commission and Karnataka State Human Rights Commission at National Law School of Indian University on Tuesday.

State commissioners and representatives from disabled welfare department of Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh and Karnataka shared preventive measures adopted in their states.

The recommendation framed at the session focused on education, employment and providing accessibility.

Participants expressed concern on lack of recruitment, poor results achieved by special schools and absence of sign language interpreters. Requirement for special educators is around 5 lakh but only 25,000 are available. Also, the need to realize 3 per cent reservation in jobs for the disabiled was also stressed.

Delay in amendment of building by–laws by some states was also viewed with concern at the workshop. Some participants said the Supreme Court's direction to make all voting booths accessible to the disabled must be followed.

The states were recommended to evolve a disability policy on the lines of Goa. "Good policies alone will not solve the issue, but there is a need for effective implementation with accountability," NHRC officials said.

The members also expressed the need to complete implementation of the PWD Act, RCI Act, National Trust Act, Mental Health Act and Juvenile Justice Act to bring them in line with the UN convention on rights of disabled persons.

Representatives from the social justice ministry, several NGOs and human rights activists participated. The next regional workshop will be held at Manipur.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

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Call for more rehab workers

Bangalore : A reassuring voice of support for hearing impaired echoed at the third anniversary celebration of Samvaad Institute of Speech and Hearing on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion, chief commissioner for persons with disability, Manoj Kumar, said the country needed 8 lakh rehabilitation workers, but there are less than 30,000 available. The website of the Institute was launched by Basavaraju, director, Association of People with Disabilities.

Director of Samvaad, Radhika Poovayya, shared details of the ongoing training programme and clinical work at the Institute. The event was followed by cultural programmes by students of the Institute and children with special needs. A sign language interpreter signed the entire proceedings, including the speech of Chandramouli, employed with the Air Force.

Students from various educational institutions like St Anne's and Mount Carmel participated in the interactive session with hearing impaired and a exhibition comprising public education posters on disabilities was also organised.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Incentives to employers for jobs to disabled people

NEW DELHI: The Centre has adopted the scheme of providing incentives to the private sector for promoting employment to persons with disabilities. Under the scheme announced in the budget, the government will pay the employer's contribution to the Employees Provident Fund and the Employees State Insurance (ESI) for the first three years. The administrative charges of 1.1 per cent of the wages of employees covered under the Employees Provident Fund &Miscellaneous Provisions (EPF&MP) Act will continue to be paid by the employer.

The government has earmarked Rs. 1,800 crore for the 11th Five–Year Plan and intends creating one lakh jobs a year in the private sector. Employees with monthly wages up to Rs. 25,000 will be covered. The scheme will be applicable to those appointed on or after April 1, 2008 and covered under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 and the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999. The employers will have to submit a copy of the disability certificate, issued by the competent authority under various Acts, the first time when benefits under the EPF and the Employees State Insurance schemes are claimed.

The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry will make available to the EPFO and the ESI Corporation lumpsum funds by way of advance. These will be used for adjustment of individual claims received from employers under the scheme. The amount with the organisation will be replenished periodically. The initial amount will be Rs.5 crore each for both organisations and it will be subsequently enhanced. The advance will be subject to a quarterly review by a high–level committee to be set up to monitor the implementation of the scheme.

Source: http://www.hindu.com

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HC rejects disabled student's plea

Mumbai, November 5 : Parents of a multiple disabled student who was removed from a special school in Suburban Goregaon are now facing the dilemma of finding an alternative special school after a review petition filed by them was dismissed by the Bombay High Court recently. Petitioner Sanghamitra Roy (suffering from multiple disabilities) had moved a review application following the state government's suggestion to admit the petitioner in the School of Spastics Society.

According to petitioner's advocate Uday Warunjikar they had contended that the student is suffering from hearing, speech and multiple disabilities and it would not be proper to admit him to a school for spastics.

The Government in June had told the High Court that directions were given for admission to other special schools in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.

Based on that, the court had disposed the petition challenging removal of students with multiple disabilities from Sanskardham School. The court had observed that as the state had made arrangement for admission in other special schools, there was no grievance left to be addressed. The court also noted that after the petitioner was removed from Sanskardham School, he was given admission at Ali Yavar Jung Institute.However, the petitioner complained it was not running on a day –to–day basis and not meant for persons with multiple disabilities.

The state finally suggested the school of Spastics Society of India. But the parents feel that a school for spastics won't be proper.

"I have now advised them to move the Supreme Court," said Warunjikar.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/

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