In an instance of how lethargy on part of civic officials can deny facility to residents, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has allegedly ignored implementation of its senior citizens' policy, which was cleared by House a year ago.
After sitting on the demand for preparing a policy for senior citizens for more than a year, the corporation had sanctioned the plan to help the elderly last August. Apart from making provision for free treatment to seniors below poverty line (BPL) at municipal hospitals and providing for entertainment quotient in their lives, the corporation was to set up a special committee under the chairmanship of the mayor (Sunil Prabhu) to solve issues troubling senior citizens. None of these has materialised, much to the disappointment of the elderly.
"It is very sad to see the municipal administration has done nothing of what was recommended in the policy. The corporation held two-three medical camps and made available some classrooms for organising meetings in civic schools. But that's it. Other provisions have not even been considered," said BJP corporator and chairman of civic education committee Vinod Shelar, who, along with Federation of Senior Citizens' Organisation, has been pursuing implementation of the policy. Shelar said he is going to raise the matter again at BMC-level.
When asked, civic chief Sitaram Kunte said the corporation is working as per the policy. "We are implementing the policy," the municipal commissioner said.
Number of senior citizens
As per 2011 census, Mumbai's population is around 1.25 crore. Out of this, 12 lakh are senior citizens, and 21% among these are below poverty line
Key issues discussed in the policy
BMC had announced provision of recreational centres spread over 500 sqft in each administrative ward for the seniors. The centres were to be developed through ward committee funds. The recreational centres are supposed to facilitate games like sudoku, chess and bridge, besides yoga
BMC had assured to give preference to seniors for treatment at civic hospitals. The corporation was to set up help desks at KEM, Sion and BYL Nair and 16 peripheral hospitals for the elderly. In addition to this, the corporation had planned weekly geriatric OPD
Facilitating celebration of festivals, organising commercial events, enlightenment sessions on several social issues, etc were some of the recommendations made