Union minister K J Alphons suggested today that the government introduce a legislation in the parliament to make eye donation mandatory after death. Speaking at the launch of Blind Walk - the world's largest campaign for eye donation being held in 250 locations on the same day across five countries, Alphons said he would write to the information and technology and health ministries to introduce a telephonic hotline for eye donation and make it mandatory after death. "Like Sri Lanka, we can think about having a legislation, where on death it is mandatory and compulsory to donate eyes. I am just saying that can we think about it.
I will definitely take it up with the health ministry," the tourism minister said. Sri Lanka donates about 3,000 corneas a year and has provided tissues to 57 countries in half a century, according to the non-profit Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society. "I had also written to the information and technology ministry when I wasn't the minister, telling them that we should have a formal number for eye donation - just like '100' for police - so that people can contact directly if they want to donate. That's not come through yet, but I will take it up," said Alphons. Though about 85 lakh people die in India every year, only about 250,000 people come forward to donate eyes, according to data available with NGOs. The minister said he will again write to the health and IT ministries soon. Alphons is also scheduled to be a part of the Blind Walk in Delhi on October 12, in which 600 people were expected to participate, along with visually challenged persons.
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