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No approval for buildings in Kerala without accessibility features

Here is some good news for people with disabilities in Kerala. The Commissioner for People with Disabilities has stated that all new buildings as well as the ones under construction must be accessible. Without this, they will not get approval.

The government must be given a clear plan and sketch of accessibility features inside every building, a move that has got the approval of the disabled community.

This will apply to all constructions including public places, parks, schools, hotels, auditoriums, malls, parking spaces, public bathrooms, bus stations and ticket counters. This is something provided for under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPWD), but was never implemented.

The laws were already in favour of making all buildings accessible and disabled-friendly. It has also been implemented in some places, but sometimes there is mismanagement and this leads to a lot of confusion. The projects need to be approved and enforced better. -Ajeesh K, Architect

The lack of accessible buildings in India shows that the Accessible India Campaign (AIC) has failed on many counts. People with locomotor disabilities are still struggling to access public buildings like courts and hospitals, to name a few. The move, if properly implemented, will help ensure the integration of people with locomotor disabilities and improve quality of life.

Lack of accessible buildings is a common sight across India. Last year, the Delhi High Court criticised the state government for the sluggish pace at which access audits for disabled people were moving. Looks like, more state governments will face criticism in coming days for the same reason.

Rajeev Palluruthi, State Secretary, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation hopes more states will follow suit.

"As most of us know, this is not a new law. It was already mentioned in the RPWD Act, 2016. Just that it was never implemented. With the Commissioner set to take strict action now, let us hope for a change. If builders do not adhere to the laws, then they must face the consequences. They must be not be allowed to pay taxes and their malpractices must come to light", says Palluruthi.

ALSO READ: People with disabilities in Bengaluru get a weekend getaway to the Kochi Biennale

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