Accessibility for disabled people a major problem at JNU

Asia-Pacific, August 9 2011

New Delhi, India: At Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), it may be easy getting admission, but for disabled students accessibility is key issue.

Akshansh Gupta, 28 a PhD student with physical disability since birth and cannot move around without assistance. He is also unable to push his own wheelchair. His attendant, Mahajan carries him around the campus, to and from his classes, as there is no ramp to reach first floor. Even going to the canteen for a cup of tea becomes a task since Mahajan has to carry him up and down the stairs.

Though there are ramps at many places in the varsity, each of them have pillars at both ends, making it impossible for wheelchairs to pass through. Wheelchairs have to be folded and carried from between these pillars while the person made to walk through.

“It is a lot of trouble for me. It is difficult to move from place to place,” rued Akshansh.

Garima, studying at the Social Sciences department and using crutches to walk around the campus suggested an on-campus transport system as the solution. “If there could be some sort of vehicle to help disabled people reach their departments, it would be really helpful,” she said.

Vice Chancellor, JNU, S K Sopory said this was a problem that has to be dealt with at the earliest.

“I have surveyed the area along with staff from the engineering branch and it was decided that wherever these ramps have barriers, they will be removed.” he said. JNU authorities plan to make the buildings more disabled friendly in about two months time.

According to general secretary of the JNU disabled person’s association, Mohammad Tariq, inaccessibilty is a major problem in the renowned varsity.

“The text book section of the library, the periodical section, the canteen, Aravali International guest house, a community center at Saraswati Puram and a few more hostels are also inaccessible for physically disabled people. We are still looked upon like strangers” said Tariq.


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