Accessibility September 3, 2020
CCPD directs India’s top medical institute AIIMS to make campus 100% disabled-friendly
The Court of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi to take urgent steps to make its entire campus disabled-friendly. Many crucial facilities on the AIIMS campus are yet to be made accessible as per the guidelines specified under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act.
Just how important accessibility is for the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi was evident in the fact that it did not depute a single official to attend a hearing of the Court of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD). The online hearing looked into the steps taken by India’s premier medical institute to make its campus 100% disabled-friendly.
The hearing was in response to a 2018 complaint by disability rights advocate Dr Satendra Singh. Dr Singh, co-founder of the group Doctors with Disabilities, had pointed out that crucial facilities at AIIMS like the library, toilets and the Centre for Medical Education and Technology were inaccessible.
Accessibility a ‘daunting task’ for AIIMS
To which AIIMS responded that the structure was over 70 years old and that making it disabled-friendly was a ‘daunting task’. A pathetic reaction given that the institute has no dearth of funds, as Dr Singh pointed out in his rejoinder.
Since then some piecemeal attempts have been made by AIIMS to make the older structures accessible. These, however, are far from adequate said the CCPD in its recent hearing. It has directed the institute to take urgent steps to address gaps in many areas like hostels, faculty department washrooms, board room, private ward 1, ultrasonography room and the ATM outside the boys’ hostel.
Six structures still disabled-unfriendly
‘Urgent action’ under Sections 40, 41 and 42 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 have been recommended to ensure the entire campus is made completely accessible.
If this is going to be the level of resistance put up by one of India’s best medical institutes, just think about the message going out to other medical institutes in the country.
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