Chandigarh, Dec. 3, 2013: From public transport to market places to multi-storey buildings all reflect the insensitive attitude of City Beautiful towards people with physical disabilities.
Chandigarh Newsline visited various buildings including hospitals, shopping complexes and courts — the situation is similar at all places. Among other things, most of these places have no provision of separate toilets or ramps for people on wheelchairs, restricting their mobility.
What is strange here is that even though few buildings like District Court Complex in Sector 43 and New OPD of Government Multi-Speciality Hospital in Sector 16 have separate toilets for physically handicapped, these are always kept locked. The new OPD at PGI does not even have separate toilets.
Harman Sidhu, president of NGO Arrive Safe rued, "It is difficult for me to travel even a 100-metre distance alone. I can not travel from one place to another without the help of two-three strongly built men. The people and infrastructure of the city are completely insensitive towards disabled people."
"Though education has made physically disabled people confident, poor infrastructure reminds them again and again of their helplessness. People on wheelchairs feel demoralised as they cannot climb stairs, cross the street, or even use public transport without help," he added.
The city's public transport system is equally insensitive towards the need of the disabled. "Chandigarh does not have the kind of infrastructure to facilitate physically disabled people. There is no facility for them to travel in public transport. By not providing them the service, we are limiting their mobility, which restricts their overall growth," Gurdip Singh Deep, chairman, Cheshire Homes said.
Many parks have revolving or narrow iron gates, which makes it difficult for the disabled to enter them.
Chairman of Youth Innovative Society, Sachin Sharma complained that over 1,600 parks and green belts situated in the residential areas of the city are not in keeping with the needs of the differently-abled, who are left with no option but to make use of roadside areas. He added that access to public places is one of the major barriers that the disabled population face here. (Source: Tanbir Dhaliwal; Indian Express)