Kalimpong, Nov. 30: Over 350 physically-challenged persons from Algarah and the adjoining rural belt were given identity cards at a composite camp organised at the local primary health centre today.
The event was arranged by the sub-divisional administration and the state health department. The programme was also supported by The Red Cross societies of Kalimpong and Siliguri and the Rotary Club here.
This was the largest-attended identification camp organised in the sub-division. Due to the huge turn out the event has been extended till tomorrow. Unlike previous camps where, only identification was carried out, this time, the entire process from identification to the distribution of cards was done on the spot.
Hearing aids were distributed among about 20 people at the event. Senior officials of the district social welfare department and motor vehicles department were present to speed up the process.
A psychiatrist from the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital was also made available to counsel the mentally ill. “The Red Cross Society of Siliguri had provided an audiometric machine and a technician. The Rotary Clubsponsored the travel expenses of poor patients,” said PT Sherpa, the subdivisional officer of Kalimpong.
“The processing time for issuing identity cards used to take atleast two to three months. With various departments working together at the camp, the people received their cards instantly,” Sherpa said.
Chandan Thapa, a resident of Payung busty, who has a defective left leg since birth, said he had never applied for the card before because of the hassles involved. But when he was told that cards would be issued on the same day, he decided to attend the camp. “I want to thank all the people involved,” said Thapa.
President of Pragatisil Bikalang Sangathan of Kalimpong Gajendra Gurung said such camps should be organised in other remote parts as well. “Not everybody can come to Kalimpong or go to Darjeeling to avail of the benefits accorded to them by the government. It will helpful if the administration can reach out to such people.”