Govt offices asked to be disabled-friendly

Apr 01, 2013, 02:11 IST | Sukirt D. Gumaste

Since four years, Chief Commissioner for Office of Persons with Disabilities has been asking for an audit and problem points in existing public structures

Trying to live a normal life despite being physically disabled is a trial in itself, but what makes it more difficult is when public routes and offices don’t keep the needs of the disabled in mind. The Chief Commissioner for Office of Persons with Disabilities has issued a notice to all government offices and demanded an accessibility report of all government offices and public transport stations in the city. The Office has been demanding the audit to be conducted since the last four years but government offices and public transport organisations have not paid any heed.

Being the change: According to PMC, the new BRT bus stop at Alandi Road is completely disabled-friendly. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

According to Bajirao Jadhav, Commissioner for Office of Persons with Disabilities, Maharashtra, the department had sent notices to all government offices regarding accessibility audit but have not received any response yet. “Accessibility audit is needed for making government buildings disabled-friendly. These reports are a comprehensive scrutiny of the buildings and highlight required changes. However, the offices should first find out barriers for the disabled. We have observed that people are not serious about providing disable friendly infrastructure,” he said.

“We are not authorised to make the audit a compulsion or take any action for not following the Central Public Work Department’s (CPWD) guidelines. We can only send a notice,” said a senior officer. “The Commissioner for Office of Persons with Disabilities has been sending notices to all government offices since four years demeaning for an accessibility audit, but to no avail.”

The other side
On the other hand, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) claimed that all bus stops of the new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project will be disabled-friendly and the first new bus stop at Alandi Road has been constructed according to the guidelines. “There were many faults in flooring structure of the BRT stops.

When they were informed about the same, the PMC officials made changes and made it disabled-friendly,” said civic activist Ranjeet Gadgil. “But still we found that BRT is not in compliance with the Persons with Disabilities Act, the Guidelines for Barrier Free environment for Disabled and Elderly Persons published by the Central Public Works Department and the IRC:103-2012 Guidelines for Pedestrian Facilities.

An accessibility audit is needed since there will be other issues such as railings, height of the ticket counter, signals etc that would have tobe carefully looked into and made sure that they comply with the law.”

PMC speak
“All bus stops of the BRT project will be barrier-free. We have made provisions like way for wheelchairs and specialised tiles for visually-impaired people. All upcoming buildings are disabled-friendly. It is not possible to make changes in existing buildings because it will need a budgetary provision,” said PMC officials.

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