If all goes well, there may be some better things that the disabled students, most of them very poor, can expect from the university.

Accommodation, transport and finances – all these were the main problems that the newly-inducted disabled students of Delhi University reported to the Vice-Chancellor on Tuesday at their orientation ceremony, resulting in the immediate announcement of a host of measures that included the university facilitating metro feeder buses and making the university disabled-friendly.

However, if all goes well, there may be some better things that the disabled students, most of them very poor, can expect from the university.

“I spoke to them and found out that almost all of them have been allotted homes very far from their residence, cannot afford their own transport and are forced to take buses. When I asked them why they were not taking the metro, they replied that they could not afford even the metro fee, they are that poor,” said Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh, adding that if things work out, the university would fund their metro transport throughout the academic year.

The Gyanodaya Express, an entire train reserved by the university to take about 1,000 students around the country to make their classrooms come alive, made its maiden journey this past July with the next journey scheduled for October. “Around 30 disabled students will be allowed on the next Gyanodaya Express and each of them will be assigned a student volunteer from the NCC or NSS,” said Equal Opportunities Cell OSD Bipin Tiwari, adding that the first 30 to be allowed will be those who have never been on a train before or those that are the poorest.

He added that the university will be allotting an entire block of the newly-constructed Rajiv Gandhi hostel to the disabled students. “During the orientation session, the students spoke about issues that we were not aware about. Some said that their classes were being held on the second floor and there was no lift, some said that there was no enabling unit for the disabled in their colleges,” said Mr. Tiwari, adding that he had decided to visit all the colleges to investigate these matters from Monday onward.

“The university has also promised to build mobile toilets for the disabled since special restrooms for the disabled are almost non-existent in the university,” he added.

A host of other measures like waiving the entire fees of disabled and very poor students are in the offing but the logistics are yet to be worked out by the university.

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