International White Cane Safety Day was observed jointly by Institute of Social Work and Research (ISWAR) along with Sightsavers (India), District Red Cross Khurdha, and the Samadrusti Welfare Centre Bhubaneswar at Mahabodhi Society here in city. The Former Judge of Odisha High Court Justice M. Papanna was the Chief Guest and the Director HRD of Odisha Power Transmission Limited Santanu Rath, the C.S.R. Head of TATA Consultancy Services Priya Sequira Mohapatra, senior programme officer of Sightsavers (India) Akbar Alam, Secretary of Anand Charitable Trust Annapurna Mohanty, and the head master of Bhim Bhoi School for the blind were the guests of honour.
As many as 650 visually impaired delegates from different parts of Odisha assembled during the celebration. They were freely distributed White Canes which were donated by Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Limited, Siromani Gurudwar Parbandhak Committee Amritsar, Odisha Mining Corporation & the Directorate for Welfare of Persons with Disabilities, Bhushan Steel & Power, Odisha, Sesa Sterlite & OPGC.
General Secretary of ISWAR Sannyas Kumar Behera welcomed all the guests and presented the demands of the visually impaired community with respect of their education, employment and rehabilitation. He demanded implementation of the Supreme Court directives for enforcement of three percent reservation quota meant for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and to fill up the backlog and current vacancies of posts with effect from the year 1996 pending reserve in different State Government Departments. Besides, sound signals system at all the traffic points was among the other demands raised.
On the occasion, a souvenir was unveiled and dedicated to the community.
The meeting was chaired by Sanjay Satapathy, the dean of School of management studies of the Ravenshaw University, Cuttack.
The White Cane Safety Day march was flagged off by the Director of HRD of OPTCL Santanu Kumar Rath. The rally was led by the film star Rommy. The white cane march was organized on the street of Bhubaneswar city which began at Mohabodhi Society & ended at Odisha Human Right Commission.
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Sightsavers is a global development organisation working to eliminate avoidable blindness, and support irreversibly blind people to lead lives of independence and dignity. In India since 1966, Sightsavers works with partner organisations to bring quality eye health services to some of the least served areas of the country.
In addition to eye health services, Sightsavers supports visually impaired people through education, counselling, training and leadership development, and advocacy for the rights of the disabled.