‘Able’ person gets disability award in Goa, complaint filed

Friday, January 14, 2011

PANAJI - A collective working for disabled people in Goa filed a complaint against Minister for Social Welfare Sudin Dhavalikar for what it called fraudulently awarding state disability award 2010 to an ‘able’ person.

In a formal criminal complaint filed with the Panaji police, Avelino D’Sa of the Disability Rights Association of Goa (DRAG) said that the state award for the best disabled employee, which comes along with a cash award of Rs.25,000 and a citation, was fraudulently awarded to Harsha Joshi, who did not qualify as a disabled person.

She was a resident of the minister’s assembly constituency.

“The terms and conditions of the scheme for the award state that it is to be given to a disabled employee as defined under the Persons with Disability Act, 1995, for outstanding achievement during the last three years,” D’Sa said in his complaint.

“The act defines a disabled person as one who has 40 percent or more disability.”

“The screening committee for the purpose of selecting the awardee for 2010 under the chairmanship of Minister Sudin Dhavlikar has given the award to Harsha Joshi, who is not a disabled person as defined under the act as her disability is only 36 percent. She also has no achievements to her credit,” the complaint stated.

“It is a case of fraud. There was a candidate who was 50 percent disabled and has many more achievements to his credit, yet he has been ignored for his award,” D’Sa said.

“Joshi has been awarded because of her proximity to the minister. We are not complaining against the favouritism, but against the selection of an ineligible candidate,” he added.

The aggrieved candidate Manguesh Kuttikar, who works as a senior clerk at the Mormugao Port Trust, has to his credit awards in swimming, besides participating in trekking and other activities.

Inspector Sandesh Chodankar said that they were in the process of verifying the complaint.

“They have filed a complaint against the minister. I will look into the matter and act accordingly,” he said.

Dhavalikar said that there was no hanky-panky in granting the award.

“We have followed all the norms laid down in the rule book. There is no question of hurting or favouring anyone. There should be no problem at all,” he said.

— Indo Asian News Service

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