Safety of elderly: JT panel for registers at societies

Oct 06, 2011, 07:47 IST | Adnan Attarwala and Kaumudi Gurjar

Joint action committee of several elderly rights bodies asks Home Minister and police to make it mandatory for housing societies to keep record of every visitor on premises

Joint action committee of several elderly rights bodies asks Home Minister and police to make it mandatory for housing societies to keep record of every visitor on premises

After a spate of murders of senior citizens in the city and Mumbai, a joint action committee formed by Silver Inning Foundation (SIF) and 70 other organisations that work for the welfare of the elderly across the state has asked Home Minister R R Patil and the police to make it mandatory for members of all housing societies to ensure people entering or leaving the premises enter their names and addresses in a register.

Safety first: Organisation involved in project will meet all society
members across major cities in the state. Representation pic

Well known organisations like HelpAge India, 1298-Senior Citizens Helpline and Harmony are part of the joint committee. The organisations involved in this project will start by meeting all society members across the major cities of the state and tell them to maintain a register to keep a record of all workmen like plumbers and electricians or any other stranger entering their societies. Such a move will help track any person down if he commits any crime against the elderly in the vicinity.

Sailesh Mishra, founder and director of SIF, said that according to their plan any person before entering any society will have to show to the security guards or a society member his identity card or any other proof of address and, if necessary, also of their relatives.

The name and addresses will then be recorded in the register. "Once the person gets registered, he will abstain from committing any crime and even if he commits one, it won't be difficult to trace him down. If the police are unable to find the culprit, then they can always trace him through his relatives," Mishra said.

He added that though the police have started registering the names and other details of domestic helps, they were not keeping track of seniors who live alone. In some parts of the city, the organisation Indian Longevity Centre (ILC), which works for elderly rights, has managed to convince the police to register the names and address of all elderly people living alone.

"The seniors can avail of the 24-hour helpline 1091 and every week a constable is made to visit the households of seniors living alone. It's not only about their safety but it's about changing the mindset of people toward our elderly," said Anjali Raje, executive director, ILC.

According to Senior Police Inspector Bhanupratap Barge, the helpline gets calls from senior citizens concerning various issues ranging from legal to health problems. Barge said the elderly people at times even share their family problems with the counsellors.

Till June the helpline has received over 1,154 calls. "We have been appealing to the seniors to register their names in the registry which is maintained at police stations. So far we have registered only 912 names. The Social Security Cell of the Pune police has compiled a list of 83 senior

citizen associations and forums in the city which will update seniors on schemes taken by them and also
teach them how to add their names to the register maintained at 29 police stations in the city. We'll also compile a list of delinquents and would refer them to the elderly to prevent them from hiring house-help with a criminal record," said PI Barge.

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