Phagwara, Dec 3 (UNI) Punjab Minister for Social Security and Women and Childern Development Swarna Ram today honoured five specially challenged persons for life-time outstanding achievements, at a state-level function organised here to celeberate "International Disabled Day" here today.
Those honoured with Rs 10,000 award in various category were Bhim Chand of village Kherri in District Patiala in self-employment category and Jagdish Kumar of Nagar Soian in district Sangrur for individual achievement.
In sportsperson category, the three disabled persons including Rajinder Singh, of village Masumpur in Phillaur Sub Division, Chaman Lal of village Tibba Nangal near Anadpur Sahib and Rajinder Singh Rehlu of village Cheema Khurad near Noormahal were awarded with cash prizes of Rs 5,000 each along with mementoes and honour letters.
Mr Swarana Ram also distributed 50 sewing machines and 33 tri-cycles to the needy disabled persons.
The minister, while highlighting various schemes initiated by the government for the welfare of disabled persons said the government was running a free traing institution for blinds in Jamalpur Ludhiana where education upto matric was being provided free of cost. Books in Braile were being provided along with audio-library.
Three per cent seats were being kept reserved for disabled in all government departments, boards and corporations and the government had opened a "Special Employment Office" for handicapped persons at Ghumar mandi Ludhiana and 4618 disabled persons had been provided employment till now.
He said that retirement age of blind employees had been increased from 58 to 60 years and Rs 25.6 crore would be distributed as pensions during 2007-08.
Fifty percent concession was being given during traveling in buses to disabled persons and an amount of Rs 4.31 crore had been allocated for this purpose.
The deaf, dumb and blind unemployed persons were facilitated with an unemployment allowance of Rs 450 to Rs 600 according to their qualifications.
Mr Swarana Ram said that three vocational Rehabilitation Centres at Bhatinda, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur have been set up to provide proper training of sewing, embroidery, typing and candle making.
He said that state government has allotted five acres land to set up a Regional Spinal Injuries Centre at Mohali and Rs Three Crore have been released from the department for the construction of this prestigious centre.