DPM Mainali ‘handicaps’ National Disabled Fund

Kathmandu. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Women Children and Social Welfare CP Mainali has been accused of “naked” interference in the National Disabled Fund (NDF), with charges like freezing funds and seizing vehicles used by its officials, disrupting the services offered by the NDF to thousands of people with disabilities.

The halt in services has also impacted the rehabilitation centre run by the NDF that manufactures prosthetics for the amputees.

Officials at the rehabilitation centre said that they would soon run out of raw materials and without payment, it would not be possible to buy additional goods required for making artificial limbs.

“DPM Mainali has unilaterally decided to block the bank accounts of the NDF and has also stopped all the services catered to the people who were rendered physically disabled by the earthquake and the decade-long armed conflict,” said Nitesh Kumar Gupta, chairman of the NDF, who himself is a differently-abled person. “He has also blocked the salaries of the staff.”

DPM Mainali was not immediately available for comments.

In a letter sent on February 29, Acting Director of Social Welfare Council Ram Sharma notified the NDF of a decision to stop all financial flow to the fund, pending an investigation.

The letter also stated that the decision was taken by a meeting chaired by DPM Mainali.

The investigation, the letter states, focuses on NDF chairman’s decision to hire officials without consulting the board. The chairman has also been charged with misusing funds.

“An investigation maybe warranted if there is a complaint. However, stopping all financial transactions and salaries is having a serious impact on the programmes run for people with disabilities,” said Gupta. “This is a discrimination against people with disabilities and their right to access services.”

The NDF, issuing a statement on Thursday, said that the decision of the SWC has affected service delivery to some three million persons with various forms of disabilities.

CWC Acting Director Sharma said they are working to resolve the issue soon, but stopped short of making further comments.

Published: The Kathmandu Post, 11-03-2016 09:12

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