Accessibility December 31, 2019
Trichy town has a long road ahead to becoming disabled friendly
Trichy is one of the most popular towns of Tamil Nadu. Reportedly, there are over 65,000 people with different kinds of disabilities in and around Trichy. But the city and its nearby areas are not disabled friendly or accessible. The district administration has not taken any steps to make places disabled friendly. Disability rights groups are demanding for swift action.
Tiruchirappalli, popularly known as Trichy, is one of the ancient and most popular towns of Tamil Nadu. Trichy recently completed 25 years as a Municipal Corporation and is gearing up to become a smart city soon. In spite of all this, the city largely remains inaccessible for people with disabilities. Disability rights groups in the city have voiced their concerns. Till date, the district administration have not paid heed to demands of disabled people in the city.
Inaccessible public buildings
Reportedly, bus stands, railway station, corporation buildings and other public places are not disabled friendly. For the over 65,000 people with disabilities in and around Trichy, mobility in the city becomes a difficult task due to this inaccessibility. For instance, metal pipes that are put in front of the district collectorate makes it impossible for a disabled person to access the building. Also, there are no wheelchair ramps in the buildings. Disability rights groups point out that if this is how the condition of the city’s most important building is, then other buildings being made accessible is a distant dream.
Louis Lobithas, Member of Organization for Development Action in Trichy says that the city is clearly not accessible for a disabled person.
Maybe to an extent, a disabled person can access facilities. Important places like railway stations and bus stands are inaccessible even today. We have a disability forum here. But there has been no follow-up regarding these matters. There has been no focus on this issue and no one is working consistently on this. What we need now is a focused mission. There is a lot of work to be done. Even the new buildings that come up are not made disabled friendly- Louis Lobithas.
The many hurdles
Apart from public buildings, parks and ATM’s are also not disabled friendly. Public toilets that claim to be accessible are locked up most of the times. This is one of the cities where both the central and state governments have failed to implement the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
Kamaraj M is a disability rights activist from Trichy. He says, “Places in and around the city lack accessibility. There are no wheelchair or Braille facilities in both public and private sectors. Recently, they started disabled friendly toilets at Trichy’s main bus stand. Ramps are built at some places, but the measurements and positions are not right. So how can a disabled person use it? It is mandatory to adhere to government rules and make places accessible”.
In spite of repeated requests, the district administration is refusing to do anything substantial to make all the places disabled friendly. With the New Year beginning, disability rights groups in the city are hoping for the best.
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