Sunday, May 20, 2007

Home for special children faces Ring Road axe

Home for special children faces Ring Road axe
Prathima Nandakumar | TNN

Bangalore: Lisa’s Home was not built brick by brick, but with love, conviction and hope, say the Abrahams. When Lisa, their only child, developed mental and physical disabilities in her infancy, it led the couple to build a home for other girls like her.
But the decade-long struggle to make this house on a barren land into a home of ‘love and care’ has suddenly hit a dead end with the BDA setting its sight on the land for its fast lane.
The alignment of the proposed Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) is cutting through the 26,000-sqft Home in Dodda Gubbi, near Hennur.
The PRR alignment is final, assert BDA officials, while the surveyor has already marked the properties that will be acquired for the project.
“Our survey No. 24/3 and 25/3 are along the alignment, like many other social organisations. We filed objections before the deputy commissioner for land acquisition and BDA. We will protest but won’t accept monetary compensation as it is too little a consolation,’’ asserts K C Abraham, a retired theology teacher.
Walking around the twostorey building in Dodda Gubbi village, you can’t miss the trees of mango, jackfruit and pomegranate, a kitchen garden, rows of cacti. Sounds of the piano, creaking noise of the swings and quiet-faced girls peeping out of windows. Decorated bamboo pen stands, bead necklaces, paper bowls, paintings on the wall — life seems to have come full circle for the 20-odd girls living in Lisa’s Home.
“The girls and women live here like a family as their own people have abandoned them or are no more. Some are autistic, some mentally retarded and others physically disabled. It has taken us years to set a routine for them like gardening, music and vocational training. Can the government provide total rehabilitation,’’ asks Dr Aleyamma Abraham.
“Development at what cost,’’ asks Aleyamma, who is upset over the government making no efforts to rethink the alignment. “How many welfare homes has government provided for mentally retarded girls? Are they functioning round the clock? It is matter of depriving them their right to a dignified life. The government has enough land to auction, but no land to give to welfare homes affected by the projects,’’ she fumes.
The Abrahams have planned to rope in their supporters and wellwishers — the social welfare department — to represent their case before the chief minister.


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