National award to S Goa for empowering differently-abled

Story Summary: 

The South Goa District Collector, Mr N D Agrawal on Monday said that the South Goa District Collector’s office has been awarded the national award for being the best district in providing rehabilitation services to the differently-abled people in the district.

MARGAO: The South Goa District Collector, Mr N D Agrawal on Monday said that the South Goa District Collector’s office has been awarded the national award for being the best district in providing rehabilitation services to the differently-abled people in the district. The national award is for the empowerment of persons with disabilities, 2012.

This is for the first time that Goa has been awarded the best district award among the 623 districts in the country. Haryana received the award in 2011. The award will be presented at the hands of the President, with a special function scheduled on December 3, 2012, in New Delhi.

Briefing the media, Mr Agrawal said that the award was a result of the teamwork done by the staff of the Collector’s office with the support and cooperation of the Margao municipality and other offices. "I received a phone call from Delhi office informing that the South Goa District Collector’s office has been chosen as the best district for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. It was a joyous moment for the state," he said.

As per the census of the 2001, Goa has 15,749 persons with impairment and disabilities - nearly 1.2 per cent in the state - and half of that in South Goa district.

"The District had organised five medical camps at the taluka level - Quepem, Salcete, Mormugao, Sanguem and Canacona - in order to examine the mentally challenged persons in the district and provide them with the medical certificates. This has helped them in obtaining legal guardianship and other benefits from the government. In the last few months, around 500 people were benefitted in the district. Doctors from Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim, and drivers and several other staff members from various offices worked in tandem for the cause," Mr Agrawal said.

The Collector further said that around eleven awareness camps were conducted in various schools and Anganwadis to sensitise people about the importance of the medical certificates and legal guardianship for mentally challenged persons. "We had sent video clippings and photographs of all the events held here, right from the time of election (March 2012). The national selection committee accepted it and later verified by visiting most of the places and contacting the persons," Mr Agrawal said.

He further said that all the taluka revenue offices and police stations have been made barrier-free. "In the district collectorate as well as in taluka offices, Braille signages have been provided for the benefit of the visually-impaired persons. Training classes were provided at the taluka level offices to teach the visually-impaired persons to vote on the Electronic Voting Machines. Ramps were made to make it easy for these people to visit the offices," the Collector said.

What is interesting is the fact that Mr Agrawal’s collective efforts have borne fruit for the third time. Earlier in 2008 when he was the managing director of the sugarcane factory, the office had won the best office award. Then as a director of the Goa Government Printing Press, the office bagged the best office award in the year 2010.