— Photo: S.R. Raghunathan
Voicing concerns: Senior citizens submitting a memorandum to
Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran at an interactive meeting in
Chennai on Friday.
CHENNAI: A majority of senior citizens who spoke at an interactive
session organised by the Chennai police here on Friday accused
autorickshaw drivers of charging excess fare and not using meters.
Listing the various difficulties faced by them, they urged the police
to intervene and take appropriate action to make their life easy and
Elaborating some of the problems faced by senior citizens, K.
Radhakrishnan, director, Dignity Foundation, said some parents were
forced by their children to sign documents for transfer of property
into their names. "A common problem is that children do not allow
parents or elders to sit in the living room in the evening… they are
often confined to their rooms. Some are not given food on time."
Referring to a case of an aged woman locked up in a room by her
son-in-law in Abhiramapuram recently, he said the woman's son who came
from Mumbai was not allowed to see her. "We took the assistance of the
police to rescue the 85-year-old woman who was lying on the floor,
crying unstoppably. He [the accused] was demanding Rs.5 lakh ransom
for her release. Police helped in taking prompt action." He said
pavements were often encroached upon by vendors and shopkeepers
forcing people to walk on roads. "It is difficult to travel in buses.
The alternative is to take an autorickshaw and the drivers charge us
exorbitantly," Mr.Radhakrishnan said.
Probus Club president S. Krishnaram Davey said haphazard parking made
it difficult for senior citizens to move their cars in many
residential areas, particularly T. Nagar. Retired Professor of History
Balammal said traffic management should take into consideration the
requirements of elders. Urging the Commissioner of Police to form a
Senior Citizens' Coordination Committee, she said beneficiaries faced
problems in getting Old Age Pension.
Another speaker alleged that motorcyclists were indulging in racing in
the Besant Nagar area. Traffic congestion was caused in residential
pockets due to shooting of films and television serials.
Chain-snatching incidents were occurring almost daily and it had
become unsafe for women to go out for shopping or temples after 7 p.m.
Bhajan Lal of Dignity Foundation appealed to the police to take it up
with the insurance companies for extending health coverage for senior
citizens, particularly those above 70 years of age.
Winding up the session, Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran said the
Chennai police had been trying to reach out to various sections in the
recent weeks. Separate meetings were held with academicians, IT
professionals, industrialists and others. "When it comes to senior
citizens, our concern is primarily confined to physical safety. Many
parents are lodging complaints that their children deserted them after
taking over the property. They seek asylum… we feel helpless sometimes
but it makes us feel good that they have confidence in the police."
Mr. Rajendran said complaints of autorickshaw drivers plying without
meters and charging excess fare would be looked into. A police
official would be nominated as nodal officer to work with voluntary
organisations serving the needs of senior citizens.
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