Kerala minister promises to make 28 buildings in the state capital disabled-friendly
KK Shailaja, the Kerala State Minister for Social Welfare has said that 28 buildings in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram will be made accessible for disabled people. She made this commitment in the state assembly and the news has been welcomed by the disabled community.
Kerala has always been in the forefront when it comes to creating an inclusive and barrier-free environment for disabled people. The state government has won numerous awards for its initiatives in this regard. However, the state capital Thiruvananthapuram leaves much to be desired when it comes to a barrier free infrastructure. Something that the Minister for Social Welfare, K K Shailaja has promised to address.
In a statement in the Kerala Assembly, Ms Shailaja said that 28 buildings across the city will be made disabled-friendly at the earliest. She said that these buildings would be made accessible as part of the central government’s Accessible India campaign and that funds have been allocated towards this already.
Many accessible facilities promised
Some of the facilities promised in these buildings include wheelchair ramps, lifts, handrails, Braille signages, disabled-friendly toilets and restrooms too. The state government also plans to enhance facilities at schools for children with disabilities. New rehabilitation centres will also be opened for the disabled community in the capital.
Even better, the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH), one of the pioneer institutes of India, will be into a centre of excellence. More sign language interpreters and teachers will be recruited so disabled children are a part of the mainstream education system.
Hoping for the best
Words that sound promising but the disabled community in Thiruvanathapuram is adopting a policy of wait and watch given that such promises were made in the past and not implemented.
I have been working closely with government authorities to make the city accessible. Nothing substantial has been done till date. Being a wheelchair user, I am denied the opportunity to do many things in my city. I cannot even go to a textile shop because there are no wheelchair ramps there. I hope the latest promise by KK Shailaja teacher is fulfilled without any hassles- Sindhu Sudevan, President, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation, Thiruvananthapuram
Husna Ameen, a visually impaired computer trainer in the city, hopes Shailaja, who is seen as an action-oriented minister will live up to the promise. “Mobility for a blind or visually impaired person is not too difficult as they can do things with the help of another person. But I feel things are harder for wheelchair users. When it comes to accessibility, our buildings in Thiruvananthapuram have a long way to go. I really hope the minister implements the Accessible India campaign in our city at the earliest”.