D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Thirty six deaths in the past year, growing outrage and a strong protest by disabled rights activists and organisations under the banner of Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.) have finally forced the Delhi Government to wake up and take immediate measures to overhaul the miserable functioning of Asha Kiran, a home for mentally challenged people at Rohini, New Delhi.
D.R.G. during the protest had demanded three immediate steps that needed to be taken. First, decongestion of the home; second, overall cleanliness; and third, providing required medical help and preparing a medical dossier on each inmate.
The government has finally decided to do exactly that. Former Deputy Commissioner, T.C. Nakh has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Asha Kiran with Rs. 1 lakh as exigency fund. It is also starting a recruitment process for hiring 240 ayahs, 100 nurses, 60 sweepers and a team of 10 doctors including four specialists. Remuneration for ayahs has also been raised from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000-6000 per month.
A team of 13 doctors will now prepare the medical history of each resident and Closed Circuit Television Cameras (C.C.T.V.) will be installed for monitoring the dormitories. The Government has issued tenders to build a new centre at Dwarka on public private partnership. Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit announced that within 2 months the residents will be shifted to 3 other buildings.
Around 128 deaths have been reported in Asha Kiran in the last four years. The home which was built to accommodate only 350 inmates, housed over 700 persons. Overcrowding, deplorable medical attention, poor administration, foul smelling rooms, unhygienic living conditions, paucity of attendants, etc. were some of the inhumane conditions that inmates were putting up with at the observation home.