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Monday, June 25, 2012

Board games mooted for 12L senior citizens

Mumbai: The city has over 12 lakh senior citizens but little has been done by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to make their lives easier. Crime against senior citizens has been increasing, making it difficult for them to enjoy their golden years. Taking note of the situation, a corporator recently moved a notice of motion in the civic house to set up recreational facilities for them in the city. 

    There are around 10 crore senior citizens in the country, and by 2050 the figure will rise to 32 crore, according to the census. There are about 12 lakh senior citizens in Mumbai, but the civic body has not arranged for special facilities for them. Vinod Shelar (Bharatiya Janata Party) said, "The BMC is the largest civic body but it does not have a system in place for senior citizens. Even smaller bodies like Navi Mumbai and Pune have cells to deal with their problems." 
    Shelar said they need a special cell to deal with their problems. 
    "The BMC can allot classrooms in civic schools as recreational rooms for them, where they can play board games like carom and chess. The rooms can be used as centres to help senior citizens deal with legal, medical and other problems too," Shelar said. 
    Experts pointed out that the fastest growing sector of the population is senior citizens because of better healthcare facilities and nutrition. However, they remain one of the most neglected sections of society. A survey found that 50% of them are widowers, 21% depend on pension for expenses and 24% sur
vive on its interest. 
    "A major problem for many of them is loneliness, as their families often have no time for them and they are neglected in their own homes. It is very important for them to get together with others and socialize. If the BMC starts a programme for them, it will be a step in the right direction," said Savio Rebello, an activist. 
    Setting up recreational centres for senior citizens is only a beginning, Shelar said. "Senior citizens should not be seen as a liability. Many want to help out and be productive, and if given a chance, they would love to help other senior citizens. The BMC should set up a helpline for senior citizens to express their grievances too."

A corporator has suggested that BMC set up recreational centres in civic schools


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