To take care of the destitute and abandoned elderly citizens of Kashmir, who are often found wandering in hostile weather conditions on the streets, the government has announced opening of an old age home in Kashmir but with clear instructions that “people cannot come and drop their parents there”.
Secretary social welfare department Farooq Ahmad Lone on Monday announced that at Pandach area of Ganderbal, land has been identified for building the old age home. The project will be executed by the Police Housing Corporation.
“The home won’t be available for everyone. This is specially meant for the elderly people who are in need of shelter and usually have no care takers,” said Lone.
“It is not that anyone can come and drop their parents in the home. Under the J&K Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act-2014 we will be monitoring the elderly care system in the state.”
The J&K Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act- 2014 provides for a comprehensive legal framework for the elderly care system in the state, including establishment of old age homes and a Senior Citizens Welfare Fund. It also provides for constitution of Maintenance Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal, State Advisory Council and conciliation officers to address the issues of senior citizens.
“We are simultaneously working on the creation of these bodies that have to be created under the act,” said Lone.
This newspaper last year reported about the pathetic condition in which an elderly transgender person was found lying on a roadside near posh Gupkar area here.
Many a time these unfortunate people have landed in police stations and even hospitals in desperate need for help and care. This issue even rocked the state Assembly on several occasions.
Deputy director social welfare Nighat Alam said, “It is in the proposal that every district should have an old age home. First they will be constructed and then we will recruit the staff and admit the elderly people in need. In the first phase we are planning to create a home at Ganderbal.”
The government is also planning to create a composite old age home in Anantnag. About Rs 50 lakh have been released during the current fiscal year.