[AI] Ensuring access to the disabled
anil1479 at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 18 23:56:43 EST 2008
Source: The Hindu (http://www.hinduonnet.com/2008/02/19/stories/2008021950220200.htm)
Ensuring access to the disabled
With its New India project, the Pratyasha Foundation aims to get Kochi city made disabled-friendly. It hopes that a movement will catch on throughout the nation for the sake of the disabled.These people are denied access to public places simply because of the absence of ramps or elevators that allows wheelchairs, says Simon George, managing trustee and chairman of the foundation. The foundation aims to make Kochi a model for disabled-friendly access. Once this is achieved, other cities and towns will follow the example, he says. The project will show how bus stops and the Collectorate building can be made disabled-friendly. Though the disability Act, 1995, stipulates access to public places for the disabled, it has been put into practice in few buildings. The Act calls for disabled-friendly bus stands, railway platforms, parks, public buildings and so on, but hardly any of these is built in such a manner.
The foundation has taken up a challenge to create awareness among people and their representatives in the Assembly and Parliament to help the disabled realise their right to access. The new initiative was recently inaugurated by V.R. Krishna Iyer, former judge, Supreme Court. Railway platforms can be raised and ramps provided to take wheelchairs from one platform to another. The international terminal at the airport here does not have an aerobridge and the wheelchairs available are rusted. Developed countries have disabled-friendly infrastructure. A beginning has to be made somewhere, Mr. George says.
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