IN A bid to make Chandigarh disabled-friendly, around 700 NSS volunteers from 25 different colleges along with their program officers will conduct an audit across the city. ‘’Chandigarh is going to be the first city in the world to carry out such an audit,’’ Prof B S Chavan, Director-Principal of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, said during an orientation program for the NSS volunteers.
The audit is being carried out in four phases — the first one was on February 14 when places were identified, the phase was the orientation of volunteers on Wednesday. The audit will be carried out from February 22 to 26 and the reports will be submitted by February 28. The volunteers would themselves use the wheelchairs and prepare a first-hand account of facilities available for differently-abled people at various places.
During the orientation, the volunteers were briefed about five cities in the world — Berlin, Barcelona, Ljubljana, Sydney and San Diego— which are rated the best in terms of accessibility for differently-abled. Chavan highlighted the measures taken in those cities to achieve it. He added that Chandigarh has a potential to become the first disabled-friendly city in India.
‘’Without active participation of common man of the city, this audit will not be effective,’’said Chavan. He urged people of the city to share their views on this to ensure accessibility.
According to a spokesperson, Chavan had shared this idea UT Administrator V P Singh Badnore in September 2018. The administration soon constituted a high-powered state level committee to ensure its implementation.
“A series of meetings were conducted and the first meeting was conducted on November 27, 2018 by the Principal Secretary-cum-Secretary Medical Education and Research Arun Kumar Gupta where all top officials of UT Administration and Municipal Corporation were present. It was planned to audit Chandigarh for making barrier-free,” the spokesperson said.
A subcommittee was also constituted on the direction of Gupta. On January 25, a meeting was held where Dr. Bikram Rana, State Liaison Officer-NSS, Chandigarh, was invited.