Tribune News Service
Amritsar, June 3
While the guidelines under the Right of Persons with Disability Act, 2016 mandate all private and government institutions and establishments to ensure barrier-free spaces and services for differently abled persons, still there are buildings that disregard them while sparing no thought about accessibility despite awareness regarding the same through Accessible India campaign.
Though most of the major government hospitals in the city are equipped with ramps for physically challenged, the absence of wheelchairs at entrance are a big trouble for them. While the authorities often complain that patients do not leave the chairs at the place from where they pick and claim of no shortages of wheelchairs, the patients often have a trouble finding one for them.
Even in washrooms, the sanitary fitting keeping in view the needs of the persons with disabilities are missing. Otherwise the hospitals apart from ramps are also equipped with elevators. “The government hospitals, as a gesture and responsibility, should provide preferential treatment to people with disablilities so that they do not have to wait for long in queues at OPDs,” said Mandeep Singh, a person with disability from the city.
The metro bus stations across the city too are disabled friendly with ramps constructed for PWDs. At the elevated stations outside the bus stand and in the Mall Mandi area, the construction of lifts is under way to make it accessible.
The MC and administrative buildings too have been re-structured to suit disabled-friendly design with lifts and ramps in place.
Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) has been working to ensure proper facilities for the disabled in the institution. The premier educational institution has ramps, lifts, toilets and walking aides for the PWDs in multiple departments. The proposal for constructing ramps, lifts, toilets in old buildings and one alike is under way.
The institution buildings have special toilets designed with handlebars for use by students and employees with disability. In certain hostels with lack of ramps across the building, the concerned students are given rooms on the ground floor as new ramps have been constructed at the ground floor to facilitate students with disabilities. The varsity officials plan to develop ramps across buildings.
GNDU construction in-charge Harminder Singh Tinna said, “Ramps have been constructed in various places in the institution. The plan to construct new ramps, lifts, special toilets in both new and old buildings is in process.”
The cultural spaces in the city too have spared a thought for accessibility for PWD as the prominent hubs of theatre and performing arts, Punjab Naatshala and Virsa Vihar have a disabled-friendly design. With ramps in place and equipped washrooms for disabled, wheelchairs as well escorts to help disabled and elderly to access its space, the two buildings have improved upon their infrastructure for disabled.
SG Thakar Singh Art Gallery now plans to follow suit and become disabled-friendly. The art gallery already has constructed ramps and has wheelchairs, but it lacks washrooms for disabled.
At the city railway station, lifts are available on every platform barring 6 and 7. Since both patforms have been raised a couple of months ago, even sheds are also yet to be installed. Escalators are installed on both sides of the railway station. However, on the Gol Bagh side of the station the escalator is yet to be made operational. Ramps for physically challenged passengers are available on both sides of the station.
Similarly, Shahid Madan Lal Dhingra inter-state bus terminal too has ramps.
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