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Monday, October 1, 2012

Home minister and city police chief meet senior citizens, at last

Mumbai: Home minister R R Patil and police commissioner Satya Pal Singh finally found time on Monday to launch the adopt-a-senior-citizen scheme. The two were supposed to visit elderly citizens last Wednesday but the plan was cancelled due to political reasons, raising doubts over the seriousness of the scheme. 

    On Monday afternoon, Patil and Singh visited two families of senior citizens in Fort and Nagpada and assured them that the state would do the needful to address issues related to them, particularly security concerns. 
    Following a spate of crimes against senior citizens, Patil had proposed last month that every policeman should adopt a senior citizen. Patil had also said that he, too, would take the responsibility of one elderly citizen. 
    One of the families the duo visited on Monday was that of 80-year-old Shoaib Dholakwala in Nagpada. The exercise, as it turned out, was marked by much pomp and drama. 
    While a police van was arranged to take journalists to Dholakwala's residence, the 
minister himself turned up late. He reached the house only at 4.45pm, over an hour after the scheduled time of 3.30pm. Also, before his arrival, more than a dozen cops from the Nagpada police station landed up in Dholakwala's neighbourhood to remove motorcycles and cars parked there. 
    Patil later met Dholakwala and his relatives amid much fanfare. He also gave a bouquet to the 80-year-old and sat with him for 10 minutes. "Our policemen will be coming to your place on a regular basis and you can share your problems with them. We are here to help 
you," he told Dholakwala. Later, a few more people came to meet Patil and he spent some time with them, too. Singh, meanwhile, instructed senior inspector (Nagpada) Vinayak Saude to solve the problems Dholakwala had been facing. 
    Before going to Nagpada, Patil visited another senior citizen's family in Fort. "Today, the world is observing International Senior Citizens' Day. The state will take care of its elderly citizens. The children of many such people go to other places to study and work and the senior citizens are left alone. Our policemen will help 
them in every possible way," said Patil. 
    The minister said he would meet one elderly couple every month. "The policemen will also help the senior citizens maintain records of their domestic help," he added. "I will talk to the law and judiciary department to try cases of violence against senior citizens in fast-track courts." 
    Dholakwala, whose two sons are in Dubai and Thane, said: "Patil's meetings with senior citizens should be appreciated. This is a good initiative, one that will help create confidence among the elderly." 

Civic plan for elderly 
The civic body on Monday declared a policy for senior citizens. Under this, every ward will have a recreation centre for the elderly. The BMC will also give preference to senior citizens by providing halls if they want to organize a programme. There will also be a help desk and helplines especially for the elderly in all civic hospitals. Mayor Sunil Prabhu said suggestions would be discussed in the general body meeting and incorporated in six months. TNN

HELPING HAND: Home minister R R Patil and city police chief Satya Pal Singh with 80-year-old Shoaib Dholakwala in Nagpada on Monday


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