IN AN attempt to make public buildings and places easily accessible to the physically challenged, the Chandigarh administration has decided to conduct an accessibility audit of all important buildings and locations in the city.
For over two decades, provisions in the Persons with Disability Act, 1995, have mandated barrier free access for the differently-abled people but in City Beautiful, the country’s first planned city post independence, most of the government buildings, including schools and colleges, and public spaces such as markets and parks lack facilities for the disabled.
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Chandigarh Newsline had on Monday highlighted how many government buildings and public places in the city are yet to comply with the rules laid down under the Persons with Disability Act. As per the 2011 census, there are 14, 796 residents with different disabilities.
The UT audit will be carried out in phases under supervision of a committee comprising experts and officials of the administration. To begin with, the first phase will cover 50 important buildings and public places – bus stands, the railway station and markets – most frequented by people with disabilities. The administration has also decided to take assistance from NGOs working in this field.
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, UT adviser Parimal Rai said buildings and public places not complying with norms will be made disabled accessible. “We are committed to giving people with disabilities a barrier free environment,” Rai said.
Lauding the initiative, Harman Sidhu, president of Arrive Safe, an NGO on road safety, who himself is physically challenged, said the audit was the need of the hour and must be conducted at the earliest. Sidhu said that the administration should involve people with different disabilities in the project as they can give the best feedback on problems faced by them. He urged the administration to complete the audit in a time-bound manner and offered to assist the authorities.