For a senior citizen, life after 60 is rather tough. Health anxiety takes over, no one is willing to employ someone above 60, those who are employed have to leave their profession, and choose home as a permanent place till their last breath.
Lawmakers understood challenges of senior citizens across the world and evolved legislation for their welfare and security.
In India senior citizens are governed under the Senior Citizens Act 2007 which has prescribed establishment of old age homes and re-creation centers for Senior Citizens.
In this regard senior citizens’ re-creation centers were inaugurated across Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. In Kashmir the re-creation center namely ‘Ahata Waqar’ was inaugurated on 10th April 2019 by the then Chief Justice of JK High Court along with Justices of Jammu Kashmir High Court.
The re-creation center was established in the building of Primary Health Center Chanapora, where facilities such as library, kitchen, LCD TVs, indoor games were made available for old aged citizens.
Secretary District Legal Service Authority was the nodal officer of the center and Para legal volunteers of DLSA Srinagar were volunteers for assisting senior citizens.
Apart from this medical doctor, employees of the Social Welfare Department were present there to oversee daily affairs of the visitors at the center.
Senior Citizens from district Srinagar and Budgam were regular visitors and marriage, birth ceremonies were also celebrated.
For the Social Welfare Department and DLSA Srinagar this center played its role in educating senior citizens about Social Welfare Schemes and benefits for Senior Citizens.
Alas, the first of its center didn’t see light of the day to its fullest as Covid surge of 2020 prevented entry of senior citizens; as Primary Health Center was converted into Covid hospital and re creation center is not in a good shape.
Currently the maternity ward has taken possession of the center and old age citizens are itinerating from one Govt office to another seeking restoration of the re-creation center at Chanapora Primary Health Center.
Similarly, the Social Welfare Department constructed Kashmir’s first Old Age Home building at Firdous Colony Eidgah where adequate infrastructure was set up for Senior Citizens.
However, it now seems that the old age home at Eidgah will never get established nor inaugurated as it has faced the wrath of red tape; Tehsil Office Eidgah has taken possession of the building and establishment of the old age home seems quite far away from reality.
Certainly from the two instances we can reach the conclusion that irregular bureaucratic abuse of office and dormant behavior on part of concerned departments such as Social Welfare Department, District Legal Service Authority, has led to such an injustice with senior citizens.
In all this it’s the senior citizens who are at the receiving end.
Badrul Duja is a practicing advocate, and an RTI activist based in Kashmir.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.