Twenty-one-year-old Munna Upadhyay, a resident of Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh is totally blind by birth. However, he studied in a mainstream school and learnt to read and write in Braille with the help of a special educator. Later, he also learned to use computers with screen reading software. Currently, he is pursuing his graduation in arts from a regular college.
Munna desired to become independent in all ways, and living on his own seemed a good start. But he encountered an unexpected roadblock when he tried to get himself a gas connection. He applied for a connection under a government scheme for the underprivileged at subsidized rates.
Munna submitted all necessary documents as per the application process with a nearby gas agency and waited for installation. Days turned into weeks, but he received no update on the connection status. Despite all paperwork in place, he was denied the service because of his blindness. He received no proper response from the authorities when he visited the agency office.
The officials simply asked for another person’s contact who could take the connection on his behalf, as they found it difficult to accept a blind person as the primary customer. That’s when Munna reached out to the Eyeway Helpdesk.
The Eyeway counselor advised Munna to file a complaint on the agency’s website, following which higher authorities directed the local officials to provide him the benefits of the scheme. Within days, Munna's application was approved and the connection was installed at his place of residence.
Thousands of visually impaired people like Munna face such challenges when implementation agencies are not sensitized towards the marginalized community, and they deny them the existing provisions. Eyeway receives similar calls from other parts of the country and our counsellors intervene with the concerned authorities, informing them and ensuring they don’t discriminate on grounds of blindness.