By Soma Mitra
Kolkata, Mar 27 : Dozens of people in Kolkata, who are themselves physically disabled, are engaged in designing and making artificial limbs for fellow physically challenged people.
Notwithstanding their physical limitations, more than half of the workforce, is working with the zest and zeal to make life of others better and worth living.
Mahavir Seva Sadan (MSS), a self-help group that employs around thirty odd people, has been actively working in Ekbalpur district since the past three decades.
Its endeavor has given a new lease of life to many physically challenged people. According to records, almost 65,000 units of the 'Jaipur foot' have been supplied to the needy free of cost.
Interestingly, the physically challenged workers of the Sadan sport the artificial limbs made in their own factory.
The liftman, who lost his right hand in a bus accident, now operates the lift with an artificial hand made in MSS.
For B M Pandey, who works in the workshop, life came to a standstill after he lost his right leg, but he engaged himself in the service of others.
"We are happy doing this work. We help those in need like us. Here everything is made including artificial limbs and calipers," said Pandey.
With patients, brimming the venue, hardly anyone leaves without contentment and hope for better life.
"I had an accident after which I came here. Almost all the treatment over here has been free of cost. Even the feet, I got are also for free of cost. Treatment is still going on, though I am facing little problems," said Anil Ganguly, a patient.
It was a conscious decision on the part of the management to give a chance to as many physically challenged people as possible.
"Artificial legs are fitted on those, who don't have foot. It is made for everybody and it can be made by anybody after learning the technique of making limbs. But we had pledged from the beginning that the people who would come here in need of limbs, if interested, would be given chance to carry on this service. The interested people were then sent to Jaipur after training and later they are trained here. When they become proficient enough, they make limbs," said J M Sethia,ice President, MSS.
Patients are thoroughly examined and treated by doctors before being provided with the artificial limbs.
These artificial limbs are made of aluminium and rubber and are available in all sizes. The size is measured by Plaster of Paris dice and then the artificial limbs are made.
Originally developed by Indian orthopedic Dr. Pramod Karan Sethi, the main advantage of this prosthesis is its lightweight and mobility.
Its low price of about US 28 dollars in India further increases its popularity. As a result, a weatherproof Jaipur foot has emerged as a viable alternative to costly prosthetics.