Visually-Impaired Man From Odisha To Receive National Award For Empowering PWDs

Paralakhemundi: Niranjan Behera, a visually-impaired person from Paralakhemundi in Ganjam district, has been adjudged the ‘Best Individual for Empowerment of Person with Disability (PWDs)’.

He will receive the National Award from President Ram Nath Kovind on International Day of PWDs on December 3.

Behera lost his eyesight at the age of 8 in an accident. He was then studying at Aurobinda Government U.P. School. The disability put a halt to his education and he could not clear matriculation because of 100 per cent blindness. 

Undeterred, he joined Centre for Community Development (CCD), a local voluntary organisation, in 2004 and worked for the cause of the disabled.

A National leadership Camp in NTPC Noida, organised by SABAL Center of action aid, Bengaluru, prepared him to fight for the rights of the disabled.

In 2010, he became the state coordinator of ‘Odisha Bikalanga Manch’ and was nominated as its president, two years later.

He advocated functioning of an independent disability commissioner in Odisha. On his recommendation, the Odisha government provided 10 kg of rice per month to every individual PWD in the state.

Behera is currently staying under a polythene sheet, having lost his house in cyclonic storm Titli last year.

District Magistrate (DM) of Gajapati Anupam Saha congratulated Behera on his achievements and said he had been an inspiration for all PWDs. “He will be allotted a house under the government scheme,” the DM was quoted as saying by the ANI.

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