Revis. of building code for PwDs to focus on accessibility
The disability affairs department has swung into action to help ensure that the National Building Code (NBC), which is being revised, will ensure accessibility for the disabled across all public spaces. A meeting of all stakeholders including the director general of the Bureau of Indian Standards, in charge of the code revision, and accessibility experts from the disability sector has been called on December 18.
"To ensure that all accessibility-related standards are incorporated in the National Building Code (NBC), the secretary, the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities would like to have a detailed discussion with the director general of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and senior officials of the ministry of consumer affairs," stated the letter issued by joint secretary of the department, Mukesh Jain. It is expected that the meeting will be attended by a joint secretary from the urban development ministry as well as Javed Abidi of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), Anjlee Agarwal of Samarthyam, an organization working to ensure accessible environments, and other accessibility experts.
The Times of India had reported last week how several parts of the draft of the revised NBC did not include accessibility features. The disability sector has been demanding that every part of the code ought to be reviewed keeping accessibility in mind, and not just the part containing provisions relating to a barrier-free environment. However, BIS officials in charge of the revision have been saying that it had to be completed in a time-bound manner and that the revised code "is to be published urgently as per the mandate of Government of India". They said that any comments on the draft had to reach them before December 24.
The department's letter referred to the prime minister's speech read out at the launch of the Accessible India Campaign which said that it was a "mission to change the physical and virtual infrastructure of the country so as to make it more accessible and inclusive for PwDs." He added that the campaign would pave the way for equal rights and participation of the disabled in all community activities.