JAMMU: Don’t be shocked if you get an opportunity to visit the only Leprosy Home famous– ‘Kusht Ashram’– located along the banks of River Tawi in Bhagwati Nagar, as the scene there could surely put you on boil, The inmates are facing abject neglect.
Garbage littered around and in the government dispensary is a common scene inside once you step into the premises.
As per the residents, 154 persons, including those suffering from leprosy, are living at this Home but since decades the government has neglected them, which forced the inmates to go door to door for financial support.
“We are living a pathetic life as government pays no attention towards us despite an annual grant of Rs 4 lakh to meet our daily needs besides education, health and other facilities,” Abdul Karim told this correspondent.
Karim, suffering from leprosy since childhood, is a caretaker and in-charge of this Home and running from pillar to post to meet the requirements of fellow inmates.
“How it is possible to get our children educated, get ration, clothes, repair our homes, medicines with meagre grant of Rs 4 lakh for 154 persons?” He asked.
Karim said that around 20 children of leprosy inflicted inmates are going to schools by paying monthly fee as there is no provision of exemption.
“Years back a dispensary was established inside the Leprosy Home but astonishingly, there is no permanent doctor posted here. Instead a medical practitioner, visits once or twice a month to check up the inmates,” he rued and added, “The medicines required by many of the inmates are not available here, which are ultimately being purchased from the market.”
Moreover, a small portion inside the Home premises was marked for development as a park during the tenure of Pawan Kotwal as Divisional Commissioner. The Jammu Municipal Corporation had been assigned this task, which is still a dream for the inmates. “Only the boundary wall was raised but the park exists nowhere,” he added.
Karim said that he along with some of the senior members of the Home visit different localities to collect charity to run their homes and added, “Although the successive governments have failed in developing this neglected locality but we hope that the Governor N N Vohra, will surely pass on directions to his subordinates for our welfare.”
“We have a donation room and many people donate food, clothes, medicines, fruits, vegetables and even cash so that we meet our livelihood,” he added.
Karim appealed to the Governor to personally look into the matter and if possible visit this place to ascertain the ground realities and see for himself the life they are living in the Home.
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