Rajendra Darawade is visually impaired and a diabetic. So, while reaching the restroom at the far end of his Photo Zinco Press office building is a nuisance, he is forced to make the trip several times a day. And he is not the only one.
The press, which has fifteen physically challenged employees, lacks the most basic disabled-friendly infrastructure. Many of these workers are at the mercy of their colleagues while going to answer nature’s call. The uncomplicated demand for the construction of a western-style toilet has been constantly overlooked by Public Works Department (PWD), citing lack of funds.
“We have sent letters to the Pune division of PWD at least twenty times, asking them for better toilet facilities in the department where these physically challenged employees are working.
The authority, however, disregarded the matter, saying it hasn’t received adequate funds from the state government,” said the president of Government Photo Zinco Employees’ Organisation, Anant Dongare.
He added that as the press is considered a heritage building, every minor repair requires the permission of PWD. “If that wasn’t the case, we would have installed the western-style toilet facility on our own by collecting money from the employees,” said Dongare.
“Life would be a lot easier if PWD constructs even a single such toilet for all of us. I feel humiliated every time I have to go to the restroom with someone’s help,” said Darawade.
A few days ago, MiD DAY had approached executive engineer Atul Chavan, seeking information about the developmental work in governmental buildings after a structural audit was done last year.
Photo Zinco Press was among the 16 listed government buildings, which needed considerable refurbishment. Chavan, however, initially told this reporter that there was no need for titivating government buildings. Later, he changed his statement and said that these buildings require minor revamping.
“No one from PWD has approached us since last year. We need massive renovation in the press. Roofs over every department have developed leakages, because of the sorry state of the building.
We have now decided to hold a demonstration on March 13 to broadcast our demands,” Dongare said. When this newspaper contacted Chavan, he said that he was not aware of any letter sent by Photo Zinco Press, but assured that he would look into the matter.