‘Delhi inaccessible for differently-abled’

Pratishtha Deveshwar (19) is a first year student of Political Science (Hons.) at Delhi University’s Lady Shri Ram College. Six years ago, she met with an accident and damaged her spinal cord, and was left paraplegic. She is one of 65 students who recently attended the National Convention of Youth with Disabilities, organised by Javed Abidi, director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).

Hostel policies

“My parents had to come from Punjab to take me to the conference because Delhi is an inaccessible city for the differently-abled,” Ms. Deveshwar said.

“On the day of the event, I struggled to get back to my accommodation as I had to cancel seven cabs. The drivers said they did not have a carrier and refused to accommodate my wheelchair in the front seat saying it would make the seat dirty,” she added.

She said that she tried to get accommodation at the college hostel but their policies did not permit assistance from outside. “I need someone’s assistance for an hour every day. You cannot treat all differently-abled person alike. We’re not a homogenised category. We all have different needs. It is true that the college is accessible for the differently-abled and I got admission through a particular quota, but what next? When I can’t live here, what’s the point?”

Many differently-abled students revealed that they had to persistent before being granted a room at the hostel. “I tried for months before I got the DU hostel accommodation. How is a visually impaired student expected to commute long distances to the college every day?” said Lovely Grower, a visually impaired M.Phil student at DU.

“I tried to get a seat in the university hostel but didn’t get it. If they don’t have vacancies within the hostel, they should have some safe alternatives for us,” said Mohammad Anas, a wheelchair-bound DU student.

“In consonance with the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, we have a 5% reservation policy for accommodation to the differently-abled, which is distributed on the basis of merit. We understand that we’re not able to accommodate every differently-abled student,” said Bipin Tiwari, O.S.D, Equal opportunity Cell, DU.

Lack of ramps

Ms. Deveshwar said initially, there were also no ramps to help her reach college.

“My paying guest accommodation is across the park. I have to go around the park and cross the main road to reach college. This is because there was no ramp at the park. However, a ramp was built after persistent requests to the municipal corporation,” she said.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 12:46:38 AM |

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