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WILL THE NEW PROPOSED HANDICAP TRAINING CENTRE BECOME ANOTHER WHITE ELEPHANT FOR NMMC?

The NMMC Standing Committee approved the bid of Unique Construction Corporation for constructing the training and education center for the handicapped in Sector 30 A, Vashi at a cost of Rs. 4.25 Crores. The proposal was approved amidst concerns that parents of disabled children and organizations working for persons with disabilities should have been called for a hearing session before finalizing the plans for a Handicap Training Center of this magnitude. Members of the Standing Committee have also demanded the appointment of a capable administrator for this project. NMMC is going to build a landmark project that perhaps no other municipal administration in the country has so far for students with different abilities. The corporation approved the bid to construct the first phase of the handicap training center with state of the art educational and training aids for the blind, dumb, deaf, mentally and physically challenged and other students with different abilities. The center will be built in Sector 30 A, Vashi. While all members welcomed this historic landmark project, several concerns that should have been discussed earlier were brought up at this Standing Committee meet. NGOs and persons with disabilities met Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik and gave appeal letters stating disappointment that parents of disabled children and organizations working for persons with disabilities should have been called for a hearing session before finalizing the plans for a Handicap Training Center of this magnitude. NGOs working for persons with disabilities and parents of special children also met the committee’s member Shivram Patil with the same appeal. However, the Commissioner explained to the members that the appeal of the NGOs and others was just a conspiracy of private special schools. He informed the members that NMMC provides everything free of cost for special students in their school. On the other hand private institute charge a hefty sum and the vested interests in private schools dread the new NMMC Handicap Training Center. With the Commissioner’s explanation, the members unanimously agreed that the proposal should be passed. The Chairman Sandeep Naik said that the project was a commendable and needed initiative but however appealed to the administration to invite persons with disabilities and their parents and guardians for a session to initiate debate and suggestions about the requirements of the handicapped, so that they too have a say in the developing of the center and are informed of the facilities to be provided in the same. Another significant suggestion was made by member Namdeo Bhagat who said that a project of this magnitude for special children needed a qualified official to handle it. Hinting that the project is being made without an administrator of the caliber to work in the area of special children, he asked the administration to get such an official for the project. Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik backed the suggestion of Namdeo Bhagat. Speaking to NMTV News, Chairman Sandeep Naik said that the members will see to it that they get a qualified administrator to run the first-of-its-kind Handicap Center for Special Children at Sector 30, Vashi sooner than later. However, Commissioner Vijay Nahata did not seem keen to this suggestion made by the Standing Committee stating that he had the best team to run the Handicap Training Center and the Commissioner would heading the project at any point in time so there was no need to get any other official. It’s unfortunate that NGOs woke up so late with their concerns about the training center as the proposal was first approved by the general body. Beyond any doubt, it requires an administrator and teachers with skill and ability to run a center for special children and while this looks like good beginning, it will be a big challenge to get the center running as shown on paper with many recurring cost and specially trained professionals. Otherwise, this project too will become another white elephant for NMMC. From NMMC HQ, with cameraperson Abhay Prasad, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News

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