Accessibility December 8, 2019
Pleas to make Trivandrum city accessible for wheelchair users go unheard
Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala. But the city largely remains inaccessible for wheelchair users. In spite of repeated pleas, nothing substantial has been done. Wheelchair users in the state hope that officials will step forward and make a change to the current situation.
Ashla Rani, who is a wheelchair user, recently visited a government school in Trivandrum to attend an event. Ashla says that the ramp to the school auditorium looked extremely great. Officials have undoubtedly spent a lot of money on its construction. But Ashla’s electric wheelchair could not fit onto the ramp because it was too narrow. Ashla, who is also a disability rights activist points out why accessibility must be given importance in public places.
Trivandrum is the state capital of Kerala. The government of Kerala recently won an award for their unique programmes and benefits for people with disabilities. But when it comes to accessibility, the state capital has a long way to go. Public places like railway stations, bus stands, beaches and museums are not disabled friendly. They lack wheelchair ramps and even accessible toilets. Ashla says that blaming officials is not the right thing to do.
Kerala is one of the states where the social justice department is very active. They have been doing a lot of things for the disabled community. It must be appreciated. But for many reasons, the efforts are not bearing any fruits. I believe the government also has their limitations. Change must begin from basic levels. There is so much awareness that needs to be done today- Ashla Rani, Disability Rights Activist.
Changes to begin with
According to experts like Ashla, experienced architects can make a difference while constructing ramps. “They will know the measurements required for creating a ramp. So the money spent on such facilities will not go wasted. There must be a vision. Our pleas for an accessible and disabled friendly city are not going unheard. They are being wrong implemented because there is a lack of awareness, even amongst contractors”, says Ashla.
Sindhu Sudevan, Member, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation in Trivandrum talks about how even railway stations are inaccessible. “There are one or two disabled coaches in trains. But they are uncomfortable for us. They don’t even have proper wheelchair ramps. So how do we travel independently? Officials say that they do not want to bother making these coaches or railway stations accessible. It is because wheelchair users hardly travel in it. A solution must be taken at the earliest. Trivandrum is the state capital of Kerala. They must be torch-bearers to inclusion”, she says.
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