Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Accessibility in India

I was thinking about the whole issue of making places accessible to those who are not very mobile. Maybe it is not perfect in any country, but India needs to pay more than lipservice to the whole accessibility issue. There are some steps being taken by the government, and there was a time when I was happy with it- thinking that it is a start, and can only get better. Now, I think of these measures as more of an insult than anything else.

A couple of years ago, there was a government decree that Panchayat schools be made accessible. On the ground, this was interpreted as building a ramp. The thresholds to the classrooms were not removed, the width of the verandah did not accommodate a turning radius, but a ramp was provided, and the conscience of the government was at rest. Technicalities aside, how many villagers in India can afford a wheelchair?

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