Published: 17th April 2019
Free transport to audio aids: Here's how Kozhikode is ensuring that the differently-abled vote in #Election2019
From providing free transport to putting out videos in sign language, the Kozhikode Collectorate is organising a lot of activities online and offline
The government bodies are arguably busy, making sure that they bring the maximum number of voters to the polling booths on the day of the elections. But in most cases, many forget about a large chunk of the population who wish to go to the booth, cast their vote and play their part in choosing the government, but aren't able to do so. We're talking about the differently-abled. But this year, the Kozhikode Collectorate has come up with an initiative to ensure that the differently-abled in their district cast their votes, like the others.
As part of the initiative, which is run with the support of the Election Commission of India, the collectorate is ensuring that differently-abled voters are provided free transportation and other requirements. "Lack of transportation and poverty are the major hurdles for the differently-abled voters," says Seeram Sambasiva Rao, Kozhikode Collector. "Most families spend around Rs 1500 to hire a vehicle to bring these voters to the polling booths. So now, we're providing them free transport facilities. We have also identified their requirements to uphold the rights of the disabled so that they aren't dependent on others. Also, we're working on an audio guide and magnifier, helping the visually impaired to vote in secrecy," he says.
As part of the campaign, the collectorate has also come up with a series of videos. The latest video in the series is to make the differently-abled aware of their rights as voters. The three-and-a-half-minute long video also explains the same in sign language for the hearing impaired. "We've conceptualised one more video here. While the current one is to make the voters aware, the next one aims to motivate them to cast their votes and how each vote makes a difference. The video will be out in a couple of days," says Rao.
Rao goes on to explain a little more about the campaign. "The campaign's objective is to empower the differently-abled. We've come up with a detailed programme. With the help of Anganwadi workers, we organised a house visit to identify the voters," he says. Through this, they have tried to identify people above 18 and created a database so that we can filter their requirements. Until now, they've identified 33314 disabled voters in Kozhikode. The collector has also asked the others to contribute towards buying the required number of wheelchairs.