Understanding the needs of those with physical challenges
No new buildings constructed in the State will be issued licences unless these provide a barrier-free environment to those with physical challenges, Minister for Social Welfare M.K. Muneer has said.
The Centre had made it mandatory that all new buildings be constructed in such a way that these provided access to all. The building rules in the State had been sufficiently amended to include this provision and hence, every new building should provide barrier-free access — ramps and lifts — as well as special toilet facilities for the physically challenged, as per the specifications.
The government intended to be very strict in implementing this, Dr. Muneer said, while addressing a workshop organised by the Commissioner for persons with physical challenges here on Wednesday.
He said the Swaraj Bhavan, the headquarters building of the Local Self-government Department under construction, would be made barrier-free before inauguration.
The workshop was organised to create awareness among all government departments about the importance of creating a barrier-free environment to enable people with challenges to move about safely and freely and use facilities within the environment.
The goal of barrier-free design was to provide an environment that supported the independent functioning of individuals so that they could participate in all activities without assistance.
Dr. Muneer said the government had asked all departments to report the vacancies in each department immediately so that the three per cent job reservation for persons with such persons could be implemented properly. The government would clear the backlog of reservation posts that were due for such persons.
Lot of new posts were also being found in various departments to accommodate them, he said.
He said that Kerala, despite the high literacy rate, was insensitive to the requirements of the physically challenged. Website design should also keep in mind the needs such people.
The Kerala State Women's Development Corporation had become the first government agency to opt for such a design for its website, Dr. Muneer said.
There were an estimated eight lakh people with physical challenges in the State and biometric disability cards had been issued to almost four lakh persons.
The process would be completed soon. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation would be directed to accept these biometric cards as in other States, he said.
Keywords: barrier-free environment