In a bid to spread awareness about eye donation, scores of people blindfolded themselves and marched in solidarity with visually impaired people in the national capital on World Sight Day. Led by Colonel Anil Kaul, a Vir Chakra recipient who lost his right eye in a military operation, the walk comprised of people who pledged to donate their eyes. The walk was organised by Project Vision, a Bengaluru- based non-government initiative, to urge the government to make '104' as a common helpline for eye donation across the country. It also presented a memorandum for the same to Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar. Urging people to donate eyes, Gurjar said, "No machine has ever been designed that can create eyes." The minister promised to take up the matter with Union Health Minister J P Nadda and assured people of action in this regard. The 104 helpline for eye donation was started in Tamil Nadu last year and is yet to be implemented in other parts of the country. To emphasise that the act of eye donation must go beyond religious lines, representatives from churches, temples and mosques were also part of the event. Former MLA and social activist Swamy Agnivesh, who also participated in the walk, said, "Words can't describe what I felt after being blindfolded. There seemed to be an end to the world. "It was like getting a new life, after the blindfold was removed.
The struggle they (visually impaired people) are facing is beyond imagination," he said. According to George Kannanthanam, Founder-Director of Project Vision, the march was organised to turn eye donation into a movement and create awareness. "The ratio of the number of people dying in this country everyday to that of the collection of eyes here is very disproportionate. This is such a distressing situation," he told PTI. Students, volunteers and visually impaired people marched from the YMCA campus here with placards carrying messages like, "One eye donation can make two people see" and "So they can see the light, donate your sight." Navdeep Kaur, a nurse from Holy Family hospital who was volunteering in the event, said she was there to bring more people to support the cause and help many more people see the beautiful world.
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