* Making Guwahati accessible for persons with disability
GUWAHATI, Sept 16: Guwahati continues to remain inaccessible for persons with disability (PwDs) even as the Accessible India Campaign was launched by the Government of India way back on December 3, 2015. The worst is that the progress of the campaign in the city has been stuck in a time warp.
Guwahati is one of the selected cities wherein 25 government /public buildings have been identified for conducting access audits and retro-fittings to ensure barrier-free environment. Under the initiative, Shishu Sarothi, a Guwahati-based voluntary organization, has been empanelled as an access auditor. It conducted access audit of 25 of the 48 identified buildings in the city. State PWD has sent the plans and estimates of five of the 25 buildings – the building of the DGP office amounting to Rs 36,67,700; the building of the Director of Handloom and Textile amounting to Rs 49,99,000; the building of the Director of Sports and Youth Affairs amounting to Rs 27,21,000; the building of the Director of Health Services amounting to Rs 49,99,900 and the office of the Director of Tea and Ex-Tea Garden amounting to Rs 64,69,000 – to the Centre for financial sanction. However, financial sanction for the five buildings is still awaited. Thus far, no further of the campaign as on now!
The nodal agency for the campaign is the State Social Welfare Department. Unbelievable yet it is a fact that the Directorate of Social Welfare has not even sent the plan and estimate of its own office building to the Centre for financial sanction, let alone making the building barrier-free.
It is, however, a fact that under the SIPDA (Scheme for Implementation of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act) works for making two of the 25 buildings – that of WPT & BC with an estimated cost of Rs 3,89,22,000 and Gauhati High Court with an estimated cost of Rs 1,51,99,900 – have been underway. While the progress of work of WPT & BC building is 30 per cent, the progress of work of the Gauhati High Court building is just two per cent.
Some of the buildings that have been identified for making them universally accessible are Janata Bhawan, Directorate of Elementary Education, Directorate of Higher Education, Gauhati University etc.