Some of the most prominent landmarks in the city — the Press Club of Bangalore, Bangalore Development Authority headquarters and the satellite bus-stop on Mysore Road — do not qualify as disabled-friendly even on the most basic parameters.
This is according to the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities K.V. Rajanna, who led an inspection team to these buildings on Saturday, and found that none of them had basic facilities such as ramps with railings, disabled friendly toilets and reserved vehicle parking slots.
In fact, the 17-point checklist that the inspecting team carried with them seemed almost over ambitious at the end of the day. The inspecting team did not bother with some of the more sophisticated facilities — such as bright lighting and colour schemes, specially designed furniture and anti-skid tiling — that are required to make a public building completely barrier free.
The Press Club of Bangalore does not have disabled-friendly toilets or ramps; it does not have spare wheelchairs. It neither has Braille signboards nor auditory signals for the visually impaired persons. And, there are no reserved parking slots either.
A staff of the club even struck a defiant note when he asked, “Why should there be Braille signboards? Wouldn’t somebody be accompanying a blind person?” An inspecting official then explained, “Sir, the idea is not just to make a facility barrier free; it should also enable a person with disability to become independent.”
Club president E.V. Satyanarayana, however, struck a positive note and said, “We are eager to make our facility disabled-friendly. We will implement the recommendations immediately.”
Except the A Block, the BDA headquarters was equipped with ramps and railings as well as lifts that were big enough to accommodate a wheelchair. “The A Block was built in the 1970s,” a BDA official explained to the inspectors. However, none of the toilets were fitted with disabled-friendly accessories such as handles and western commodes.
BDA Commissioner T. Sham Bhat assured Mr. Rajanna of a series of measures. He said that he would contact the National Informatics Centre to make the BDA website more disabled-friendly.
He also said that all the BDA offices as well as commercial complexes in the city will be made disabled-friendly.
Mr. Bhat also instructed his subordinates to immediately reserve a parking slot for people with disabilities. He also ordered to call for tenders for the construction of a lift at the A-Block.
The KSRTC’s Satellite bus-stop, according to Mr. Rajanna, was the worst. “There is no way that a person with disabilities can access the structure,” he said after the inspection.