Move to make government buildings accessible
Asia-Pacific, January 3 2017
BHUBANESWAR, INDIA: All departments have been asked to submit details of Government buildings in the Capital and 10 other important cities and towns in a bid to make them accessible for persons with disabilities.
According to the strategy laid down by the Centre for Accessible India Campaign (AIC), all Government buildings in State Capitals would be made fully accessible by July next year. Besides, accessibility audit of 50 per cent of Government buildings in 10 important cities/towns would be taken up and made accessible by July, 2019.
The Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disability (SSEPW) has sought a list of Government buildings from Secretaries of all departments in Bhubaneswar and 10 other cities/towns for initiating the process of access audit by the Centre.
In November, the Supreme Court had pulled up the Centre for not doing enough to make Government buildings accessible in the national and State Capitals and said the Ministry concerned has not taken any step in this regard for the last couple of years.
The apex court had earlier stated that there was non-compliance with regard to several important statutory duties and warned the States of contempt action if they failed to enforce the National Building Code as well as guidelines issued by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
‘’The SC had expressed deep concern over slow progress in creating a barrier-free environment in Government buildings. Following the direction from the Centre, we have asked department heads to take up the matter personally and provide details to enable compliance to the directions of the apex court,’’ Principal Secretary of SSEPW Department Niten Chandra said.
The AIC, known as the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan, is an ambitious project that was launched in December, 2015 to enable persons with disabilities to gain universal access, equal opportunity for development, independent living and participation in all aspects of life.
The campaign seeks to enhance accessibility by making significant changes to infrastructure, transportation, information and communication systems with an aim to make all Government buildings in the national Capital and all State Capitals ‘fully accessible’.