Bhubaneswar: The Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation in association with other government departments and social service organisations today organised a consultation to list out issues and opportunities for senior citizens in Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD), which is the Smart District.
Though BSCL has been working with adolescent boys, girls and women in BTCD area along with UNFPA, this consultation titled “Active Ageing and Issues of Senior Citizens’’ would go a long way as the senior citizens across India and world are also contributing a lot towards socio-economic development and growth.
Prominent departments like Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disability (SSEPD), Commissionerate of Police and NGOs like HelpAge India, Tata Trust, Silver Age Foundation, Humara Bachpan, Madat, Feedback Foundation, Social Development Foundation and Astitwa participated in the discussion.
Chairing the session Joint Secretary SSEPD Department Debaprasad Dash said “nearly 10 percent of our population is elderly, but we should provide all the facilities to them as they have the rights to enjoy and experience all the comforts in life just like the other groups. SSEPD has implemented Odisha Senior Citizen Policy 2016 and implemented a programme called `Abadaan’ for welfare and protection of senior citizens.’’
However, he also added that areas like social inclusion, participation, health-care facilities, communication, community support service, active ageing, social interactions with peer groups and others, social security, easy delivery of services and schemes, physical safety and security still remain a challenge.
GM (operations) BSCL Bijay Kumar Swain spoke about the issues of senior citizens in urban areas including the slums and how to help them with the other objectives of the Smart City Project.
Amarjyoti Mohapatra of Silver Age Foundation said “there should be an unattached ambulance service across the city to help senior citizens to reach hospitals in the time of needs as most of the ambulance services are attached to specific hospitals only.’’
He also suggested active, participatory, recreational day-care centres across Bhubaneswar to make the senior citizens more active and smart at par with other happening metros in India.
Bharati Chakra from HelpAge India said senior citizens in urban areas are mainly facing difficulties in post offices, banks and health-care delivery issues as in most of the hospitals have no specific counters for elderly or senior citizens.
Santoshi Behera SI of Capital Police Station and Nodal Officer of Senior Citizen Desk informed that the desk is helping “registered’’ elderly people in solving their problems and helping them in day-to- day affairs despite of having a lot of pressure in office from the regular policing job. Krupasindhu Sahu, president of Senior Citizens’Federation said “the civic authorities have planned for 18 day-care centres across the Capital city and 5 centres are getting ready to become functional very soon.
Neha Rajput from NHM stated that across the 22 urban health centres in the city steps are being taken to have doctors with specialisation or training in geriatric care to have weekly consultation and this may start within 2 or 3 months time.
General secretary Senior Citizens’ Group Jugal Kishore Sahu said generic medicine counters should come up in large numbers so that all senior citizens including those from slums.
Kailash, a senior citizen and local leader from Shantipalli Slum within BTCD said “senior citizens of slums should be told about the facilities and programmes for senior citizens in the city.’’