Making Thiruvananthapuram accessible for persons with disabilities

Asia-Pacific, July 29 2016

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA: The Union Government initiates  an audit in the city to check whether the guidelines formulated by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities functioning under the Union Ministry of Social Justice as part of Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) is being adhered to. The Trivandrum International Airport (TIA) is the first institution in the city which has been selected by the Union Government for the auditing process.

Wheelchair Access SymbolThe Union Government will check whether the city has facilities to provide accessibility to persons with disabilities in general. Thiruvananthapuram is the only city from the state which has been selected by the Centre for the Access Audit Report.

This flagship nation-wide campaign is being formulated by the centre to achieve universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.

The Union Government will conduct study in the cities based on various criteria. The criteria include information, transportation, physical environment, communication technology and  accessibility to services as well as emergency services.  According to the officials of State Commissionerate for persons with disabilities, the ongoing study will enable the institutions in the city to become accessible for persons with disabilities. “At present, some of the institutions in the city are adhering to the guidelines. But there are many others which are yet to follow. This will change,” an official said.

The centre has already directed the authorities of Trivandrum International Airport(TIA) to conduct a detailed study on installing facilities for persons with disabilities. The study is said to be the first one of its kind being carried out in the country. The access audit will be conducted to study the hurdles that make travel difficult for persons with disabilities.  In the survey, the  access auditors will evaluate the airports based on different parameters, including width of doorways, ramps, tactile flooring, adaptation of toilets  for wheel-chair users, braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators. It is said that an airport is considered accessible only if persons with disabilities face no barrier in entry and are able to use all facilities, including boarding and alighting from the flights.  “We have been directed by the Union Government to conduct a study on this. At present, we have ramp and lift facilities for persons with disabilities at the International airport. However, Domestic terminal has some shortcomings. The lift for the disabled is yet to be constructed here.

We will make arrangements for that at the earliest,” said George G Tharakan, TIA, director.  After the audit, the report will be sent to the Airports Authority of India. According to sources, the domestic terminals will be considered for the audit in the second phase.

Source: newindianexpress

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