Survivors of acid attacks deserve benefits such as job reservation that are provided to the handicapped, plastic surgeons from across the country have demanded. They have requested the government to bring such people under the ambit of the Persons with Disability Act.
Dr Ashok Gupta, a senior plastic surgeon and past president of the Association of plastic surgeons of India, last week met Maneka Gandhi, minister of women and child development, and submitted a proposal for the welfare of the people who have suffered the devastating assault. The association has demanded creation of a registry of acid attack survivors and granting Below Poverty Line (BPL) status to them.
"In my 40-year-old career, I have operated on more than 150 victims of acid attacks. Such a person requires at least 10 surgeries at different stages of treatment. The cost is anywhere between Rs10 lakh and Rs13 lakh and even more in some cases," said Dr Gupta.
The senior doctor said survivors, most of whom have to deal with permanent disfigurement, need medical attention even after the surgeries. He said BPL status would help them avail treatment at subsidised or no cost across the country.
"The government must have a database or registry of acid attack survivors. It will help in formulation of a policy on the issue. The government should provide reservation in jobs to such people," said Dr Gupta.
Acid attack patients can die if treatment is delayed. Whenever such an incident happens, relatives or the police should immediately get the victim admitted to a government or private hospital depending on the facilities available, he said.
The Indian Medical Association has welcomed the move. Dr Anil Pachnekar, national dean of the association, said, "The rehabilitation of survivors is a long-drawn process, it may go up to 10 years in some case. Therefore, the government must take concrete steps towards the welfare of such patients."