SIALKOT

All the elderly inmate of the Old Age Home Narowal being run by the Punjab Social Welfare department, have been living a miserable life due to the alleged negligence and carelessness of the staff and officials supposed to look after them.

According to a survey conducted by local journalists, there are a total elderly inmates - two women and six males who are forced to live a miserable life due to the unavailability of staff and officials deputed to look after them. The elderly persons told the reporters that most of the staff and officials concerned remained absent from their duties, paralysing the entire management of the Old Age Home.

"We often could get properly meals," claimed 85-year-old Aziz Muhammad while talking to the visiting newsmen. He said that he had been living in the old age home for the past two consecutive years. He said that there was no proper schedule for serving meal, saying that there were often served the meal at 9 O'clock or 12 O'clock during the night. He alleged that no one had ever checked quality of this meal. He alleged that the old people admitted in the centre were being treated like animals.

He also complained about the alleged sluggish and harsh behaviour of the staff and officials who often abused these elderly inmates.

He said that though the government had deputed the staff and officials to facilitate the elderly people, they remained absent forcing them to do the routine chores including wash crockery and cloths.

Another person 71-year-old man Erick told the newsmen that the old persons were served breakfast at noon as breakfast-cum-lunch while most of the times they remained deprived of breakfast.

He regretted that the elderly persons marginalised by the society take shelter to get some respect but alas! there was no respect for these hapless elder persons who had spent their lives for development and strengthening society.

Two old women Irshad Bibi (65) and Saraya Bibi (70) said that they were diabetics and there was had no female attendant for them, saying that they had to take medicines on self-help basis.

The elderly persons burst out against the harsh and inhumane attitude and negligence of the staff and officials of old age home. They said that they spent Eidul Fitar Days and Independence Day empty stomach as no one was available to look after them.

The helpless elderly persons urged Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ch Ehsan Iqbal, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Gujranwala Division Commissioner Khawaja Shamail Ahmed and Narowal DCO Syed Najaf Iqbal to look into the matter and take drastic steps to end their ordeal.

When contacted, District Officer Social Welfare Narowal Muhammad Sarwar told that funds paucity was also the main reason behind the unavailability of basic facilities for elderly inmate of Old Age Home. He said that the government provided funds only Rs100 per day per person and with this meagre amount they were unable to take proper care of the elderly persons.

He admitted that he was well aware of the problems being confronted by the elderly persons, saying that he had already brought the situation into the notice of high ups.

On the occasion, local traders led by Shaikh Sair Ali, distributed fruits, sweets and food items among the elderly inmates of the Old Age Home. He expressed grave concern over the grave situation, saying that it was the first Old Age Home of Gujranwala Division where the provincial government had deputed as many as 18 staffers and officials to look after only eight elderly inmates.