Shimla: Member of HP State Mental Health Authority and Chairman of Umang Foundation Prof. Ajai Srivastava has claimed that the government is not adopting the usage of technology to trace the home addresses of unknown mentally ill persons admitted to the State Mental Hospital and other hospitals.

Srivastava, in a letter written to the Chief Secretary, has demanded the installation of an Adhaar Card reading device in the hospitals and to start a dedicated portal for unknown mentally ill patients.

In the letter, he said that as per the data available with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), more than 99% of adults in the country possess Adhaar Card.

“If the device is installed in the State Mental Hospital and other hospitals where mentally ill persons are admitted, it will be easy to trace their families,” Srivastava said.

“It will also help the unknown patients admitted to the hospital with head injuries who are in a coma” he added.

He said previous year as well he had written to the government but no action was taken in this regard.

He said that in the last five years, Umang Foundation got the success to get wandering mentally ill persons rescued through the Police with the help of society. Such persons are rescued under the provision of the Mental Health Care Act, 2017.

He said at present, there are 54 mentally ill patients are admitted to the State Mental Hospital against the capacity of 62 beds. About 70% of them are not in the position of telling their home address. Apart from this, 23 females and 25 males are admitted to the Halfway Homes situated at Kunihar in Solan and Lunapani in Mandi Districts respectively after getting discharged from the State Mental Hospital.

A new, dedicated portal will also help to trace the addresses of inmates who do not possess Adhaar numbers. He has urged the chief secretary to issue directions to the concerned on this matter of human rights.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.