The Telegraph
Saturday , September 8 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Elderly to get October hug

It is a gift delayed but thankfully not denied. After six years, East Singhbhum district administration will finally open its old-age home in Jamshedpur on World Senior Citizens’ Day, October 1.

Slated to be the lone government old-age home in Kolhan, the facility had been set up in March 2006 on an acre near MGM Medical College and Hospital in Sakchi at a cost of Rs 53.56 lakh.

But it stayed locked up for two reasons — one bizarre and the other pragmatic — it was awaiting formal inauguration and it needed an NGO to look after the senior citizen inmates on a daily basis.

The Telegraph pointed out the sheer waste of resources in its story, Home & happiness elude destiny’s citizens (Sept. 4), waking the district social welfare department up from its six-year slumber.

Authorities have called a meeting with Brahmakumaris, a spiritual outfit, at the district collectorate on Saturday.

“We will chalk out the details of the agreement with the NGO before handing them (the NGO) the old-age home. We’d like the elderly to benefit from the home from October 1 that coincides with World Senior Citizens’ Day. We know the problems that senior citizens face in the lack of such a facility in Kolhan. The media report compelled us to put in extra effort and start operations soon,” said Virender Kumar Singh, the district social welfare officer.

The spiritual organisation has also been directed to start receiving applications from elderly persons who need refuge. “At the moment, we have 24 beds in 19 rooms. After going through applications, we will select 24 deserving candidates, based on their socio-economic conditions, to stay at the old age home,” said Singh.

The administration may also insert advertisements if the NGO lands up with fewer beneficiaries than 24.

A flurry of activities is likely to start before the stipulated day of launch. The East Singhbhum building construction department has also been asked to complete minor repairs in the single-storey building that has 19 rooms, a kitchen and two halls.

“We have asked the executive engineer, building construction department, to hand us a report by mid-September about the completion of repairs at the home so that we hand over the structure to the NGO on October 1,” added Singh.

An outfit devoted to the elderly, Singhbhum Kendriya Varishta Nagrik Samiti, welcomed the efforts, albeit belated, of the district administration.

“As beds are few, we hope only those in real need get them. The government, which will fund the old-age home, should have a monitoring mechanism in place to ensure that senior citizens are well looked after,” said its president Shiv Pujan Singh.