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Patients protest move to shift NILD to Odisha

The NILD is now currently providing services to the orthopedically handicapped population, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, orthotics and prosthetic treatments. It is conducting and sponsoring research in all aspects related to the rehabilitation of the orthopedically handicapped.

Rajib Chakraborty | Kolkata |

Thousands of physically challenged and other general critical orthopaedic patients of Eastern India are soon going to have a tough time as the National Institute for Locomotors Disabilities (Divyangjan) (NILD), is going to shift
its headquarters from Bonhooghly campus in Kolkata to Nistar in Odisha.

NILD sources said that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, under the Union government, has decided to shift the headquarters from Kolkata to Odisha. CPI-M and Congress termed the move “deprivation” against Bengal and said the decision to shift the NILD to Odisha came after the BJP did not reach its expected goal to form the government in Bengal, as anticipated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah.

Thousands of patients also erupted in protest and sat on fast and dharna for the past two weeks against the Union government’s “erratic” decision. The NILD is now currently providing services to the orthopedically handicapped population, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, orthotics and prosthetic treatments. It is conducting and sponsoring research in all aspects related to the rehabilitation of the orthopedically handicapped.

The institute is also providing services in the area of rehabilitation, restorative surgery, aids and appliances and vocational training to persons with disabilities. “We are here standardizing aids and appliances and also promoting their manufacturing and distribution,” said a senior official.

Patients from eastern India depend on this institute. The official, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that on 16 August, the Centre had issued a directive to shift the NILD to Odisha and West Bengal will become only
a simple branch, which is being considered would ultimately affect service to patients hugely.

Debasish Dutta, a patient of the NILD said that the institute has more than 2.5 acres of land, which could be used for providing better services. “Here AIIMS-like infrastructure could be set up to treat the neuro patient. We have appealed to the Centre for it. Instead, the Union government took an anti-patent decision to leave the critical patients in troubled condition,” Dutta said.

CPI-M central committee member Sujan Chakraborty said that the NILD provides education to thousands of students to make them qualified paramedics but this will also make their profession uncertain. “This is BJP’s political game and political vendetta. We should deal with the matter politically. Union government has to roll back the decision else it will create a huge ruckus,” said Mr Chakraborty.