Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014

Differently abled to protest lack of barrier-free structures

Express News Service | Pune | Posted: May 9, 2014 4:33 am

With most public buildings not being barrier-free for differently-abled people, members of Prahar Apang Kranti Andolan have demanded the government to address their issue at the earliest. The members have decided to stage a protest outside the PMC office on Friday, demanding that there should be a proper assessment of buildings before providing them clearances.

“Even as there are repeated assurances that audit will be done, it is not completed,’’ said Hari Shinde, a representative of the group. The members have taken photographs of public buildings like banks and cultural centres, including Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Sanskritik Bhavan and Tilak Smarak Mandir, that are not barrier-free structures.

Even as the new zilla parishad building boasts of a disabled-friendly structure, the social welfare department wing on the first floor has no railings. “The lift does not stop on the first floor and it is very tedious for a person on  wheel chair to access the office,’’ Shinde added.
The union government had sought proposals from states to make necessary changes to the state department offices so that they could be easily accessed by physically-challenged people. Proposals from states had been invited by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment under the Scheme for Implementation of PwD Act, 1995.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), 2008, to which India is a signatory, calls for making buildings, work places and facilities, including information, communication and other services,  accessible to PwDs on an equal basis.

In addition, Section 46 of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, emphasises on implementation of barrier-free environment for PwDs everywhere, especially government buildings.

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