New Delhi: Taking the first step towards making India truly accessible, all international airports, 75 railways stations and 5,000 public buildings in the major cities will be made disabled-friendly by July.
As a part of an Accessible India campaign, the government has started auditing 27 international airports and 75 railway stations to identify areas that need to be improved and made disabled-friendly.
The list includes airports at Srinagar, Amritsar, Jaipur, New Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Goa, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Port Blair, and Bhopal.
The Accessible India campaign will be formally launched on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 and the government has set a deadline of July 2016 to retrofit international airports and railway stations.
The initiative, spearheaded by the department of disability affairs under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, will include conducting accessibility audit of government buildings in 100 cities and making them fully accessible by July. A beginning will be made in 26 large cities and state capitals where the 50 most important government buildings will be identified for accessibility audit.
Senior officials told that professional agencies will conduct the accessibility audit and retrofit the buildings. A senior official said, “Even before the formal launch next month, the spadework has already started.”
The exercise of retrofitting buildings, airports and stations to make them disabled-friendly should be used to yield a blueprint that can be used to make existing private buildings, especially commercial buildings, also disabled friendly.
It is a good idea to involve corporate India in the project. This should spur companies to make privately-owned building disabled friendly.
The government should ensure that the seven-month timeline it has set for the retrofitting is adhered to.