Bhubaneswar, Mar 2 (LocalWire): The Indian Parliament had in 1995 passed the Persons with Disabilities Act which batted for making public offices and transports barrier-free and accessible to the differently-abled.
The modified Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 again bolstered the mandate and again reiterated the need to make public offices disabled-friendly.
However, despite years of existence of the pro-accessible laws, several government buildings, market buildings and public transport systems, information gathering methods and others are yet to be made friendly to the differently-abled in Bhubaneswar and in the state at large.
A visit by this correspondent to several city buildings revealed that many such buildings are yet to be made friendly to the lakhs of differently-abled population of the state.
Several premises of the institutions in the state capital still pose a challenge to the persons with special needs who visit such offices for their works.
Some of the offices like in the state like that of Post Master General (PMG), Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), Survey of India, Odisha Tourism department, Unit-II market building and others are yet to come on board to provide ample facilities to make it accessible to the differently-abled.
For example-the Post Master General office in the state capital has on its main entrance has poll segregated ground which can make it highly complicated for the differently-abled walking through sticks or for a blind person using navigation sticks besides adding to the woes of even for the wheelchair users.
For making a building or premised differently-abled friendly, buildings are mandated to arrange for ramps, tactile plates, Braille signboards, railings and others.
However many offices just add a ramp and think it has been made barrier-free which according to disability experts is a myth as it cannot term to be fit for the majority of the classes of disability.
“Ramps alone cannot be termed as the option to make buildings differently-abled friendly. We need to make other arrangements like special toilets for them, Braille signboards, tactile plates and others.
Just imagine how a wheelchair user alone can use toilets often used by other persons,” Ram Kishore Sharma, Assistant Director of National Career Service Centre for Differently-Able (NCSCDA), Bhubaneswar told LocalWire.
However, some buildings like Rabindra Mandap, Hare Krushna Mahtab Library, National Career Service Centre for Differently-Able (NCSCDA) in the state capital show how campuses could be turned as friendly to the differently-abled.
According to the 2011 Census, Odisha is home to more than 12.5 lakh differently-abled persons.
Besides the woes of public buildings, public transport also meets the same fate.
Most of the public buses are not friendly to the differently abled while many governments and private institutes’ websites are also not crafted as per the needs of the differently-abled.