WE SHALL OVERCOME
COLLEGE STUDENTS AND GRADUATES ASSOCIATION OF THE BLIND
Thakkar Bapa Vidhyalaya, 58, Venkatnarayana Road, T.Nager, Chennai-600 017.
Ph:044-24348628,044-48548628,9444378628 Email : email@example.com@gmail.com Web:csgab.org
The Commissioner for the Welfare of Differently Abled Persons,
Commissionerate for the Welfare of Differently Abled Persons,
No. 5, Lady Wellington Campus, Kamarajar Salai,
Sub: Requesting to provide work-at-home facility for all the differently abled persons in the state of Tamil Nadu till normalcy returns post-COVID19 reg.
Greetings. At the outset, we wish to convey our immense thanks for having considered our request and for having brought out Government Orders to the effect of exempting all differently abled employees serving for the Tamil Nadu Government from going to work till the 20th of June 2021. The prompt issuance of these orders at the right time has safeguarded the lives and safety of many visually impaired employees, and we are really grateful to the Government of Tamil Nadu in this regard.
In continuation of your order, We earnestly request you to consider the following facts and provide work-at-home facility for all the differently abled persons in Tamil Nadu until the lockdown is completely lifted and normalcy is restored:
1. With regard to travel, while it is true that rented autos and taxies have been permitted to operate with restrictions, operation of buses has been restricted in all districts. Buses are not operated, and even those on the road are permitted to board only 50% passengers. Even in the operated buses, it is rather impossible for the drivers, conductors and co-passengers to help the differently abled persons for the fear of transmitting COVID from one another inadvertently. Auto and taxi drivers also cannot be expected to extend physical help to their differently abled passengers for the same reason. And for the differently abled persons, taking the help of strangers like co-passengers, drivers, public and even their colleagues would expose them to the danger of contracting the disease.
2. Above all, we wish to draw your attention to the fact that more than 25 visually challenged government employees, including teachers, professors, Government Press workers, bankers and administrative staff, have lost their lives due to the COVID19 pandemic in the present second wave. Differently abled persons, especially the visually impaired, have no other option but to physically touch and feel the environment for their daily living. As you would be aware, touching the staircase handrails, bus and train side-bars, and holding such accessibility supports would mean inviting the COVID19 voluntarily in the present situation.
3. Differently abled persons in general do not have the same immunity of their non-disabled counterparts, and many of them have a high risk of contracting the COVID19 virus if they have to venture out of their residence.
4. Yet, our intention is not to refrain from our duty, nor this is a demand for exemption from work for the differently abled employees. We request you to exempt differently abled persons from physical presence at the working premise until the spread of COVID19 is contained and normalcy is restored to a considerable extent. Differently abled employees may please be provided work-at-home facility, and they could be utilised to perform all the works that could be done online and over phone. Since connecting through digital mode is within the immediate reach of the differently abled persons, such a facility would help them to bring the best out of them thereby ensuring their safety. Even those visually impaired persons employed for physical work such as the Government Press could be deputed to other works or departments in which online works are required. For instance, such visually impaired employees can be deputed for COVID19 related information, awareness and other helpline works over phone. We would like to place on record the fact that many visually challenged college professors, school teachers and administrative service staff have been very successfully carrying out online teaching, administrative works and other office tasks using their computers and smart phones equipped with screen-readers. Most of the visually challenged bankers employed in all major banks have been completing operations other than money transactions from their home to the astonishment of their higher officials. We would like to reiterate that we request only for work-from-home facility, not for exemption from duty; it is very much within the skills and abilities of the visually challenged and differently abled employees to complete the assigned works from their home.
We earnestly request you to extend the same work-at-home facility for all the differently abled persons employed in Government, Government undertakings, public and private sectors across all districts in the state of Tamil Nadu. All the Government establishments, public and Private sectors companies and other institutions may please be directed to provide work-at-home facility for their differently abled employees without fail till the check of COVID19 spread and restoration of normalcy in Tamil Nadu. Such a good gesture will not only protect the differently abled workers, will in turn prevent their colleagues, helpers, caregivers, public and families from contracting the COVID19 virus inadvertently.
We hope that you will consider our request and take necessary steps to safeguard the right to reasonable accommodation, workplace safety and equal protection ensured to the differently abled persons in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act 2016. We also sincerely request you to consider the real extra-difficulties faced by the differently abled persons in the wake of this unpredicted and unseen situation demanding social distancing. Your immediate action will surely become a great service to the differently abled community, for which we have placed our request before you.
1. The honourable Chief Minister and Minister for the Welfare of Differently Abled Persons, Government of Tamil Nadu
2. The Chief Secretary to the Government, Government of Tamil Nadu
3. The Secretary to the Government, Ministry of Welfare of the Differently Abled Persons, Government of Tamil Nadu.