PwDs being neglected yet again: activists
The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) has written to the Minister of Consumer Affairs demanding that the National Building Code (NBC) main text include disability access.
NCPEDP honorary director Javed Abidi said: “There should not be two separate standards — one for people with disabilities and another for those without disabilities. This approach is inappropriate as it excludes people with disabilities. Disability access should be integrated into regular standards.’’
The NCPEDP has strongly suggested that the entire NBC should be reviewed to make it contemporary, comprehensive and inclusive. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15 per cent of the population lives with some form of disability. This estimate is on the rise due to population ageing and rapid spread of chronic diseases. Since the infrastructure in the country is just not suited for them, they remain dependent and unable to achieve their full potential to become contributing citizens of the country.
The Disability Act was passed in 1995, which clearly mandates that public roads, buildings and transportation should be made barrier-free for persons with disabilities.
“However, implementation has been very poor. India also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007, where accessibility is recognised as a basic human right and as an essential prerequisite for accessing all other human rights. India recently launched Sugamya Bharat [Accessible India campaign] to promote accessibility in the country targeting 48 cities,” noted Mr Abidi.
He added that large scale construction is happening all over the country, even in small towns and rural areas. The government also has a mega plan to create smart cities. If this opportunity is missed, by the time the next revision of NBC takes place we would have lost precious time, a lot more construction would have happened and persons with disabilities would further be left behind in the development process.
“One of the reasons for disability laws and policies having little or no impact is that building standards don’t take into account the requirements of users with disabilities. The National Building Code (NBC) 2005 has an Annexure D, “Special Requirement for Planning of Public Buildings meant for use of Physically Challenged”. However, this is ignored while designing public infrastructure. This annexure is referred by planners/designers only when designing special schools or rehabilitation centre type of buildings,” notes the letter.
Source: The Hindu