Friday, 27 February 2015
Sakthi Meena suffered permanent hearing loss following a corrective surgery to set right her jaw as a child. But she continued her education. At Dr. Ambedkar Government Arts College, a teacher not only identified her disability but also sent her for review to ENT specialists. She finally received a state-of-the-art hearing aid three years ago. She is now doing her M.Phil and teaches children in her slum to eke out a living.
“Sakthi Meena was the recipient of UGC’s fund under the Higher Education for Persons with Special Needs scheme,” says M. Ravichandran, coordinator of Disability Centre at the college.
“The surgeon had advised an expensive surgery but later suggested a high-end hearing aid. We used the UGC fund for it. She was the last beneficiary as the UGC has since suspended the programme,” he rues.
Source : The Hindu , 27th Feb 2015
1. INT'L CRICKET STADIUM | Rs 360 cr
Much to the delight of cricket lovers, Lucknow will soon host international-level matches like IPL, with the coming up of a top-class international cricket stadium with a capacity of 50,000 spectators. The multipurpose sports complex near Shaheed Path will also be the first-of-its-kind 'Sports Rehabilitation Centre' for players who get injured during matches.
2. JP INT'L CENTRE | Rs 200 cr
Again giving sports a boost, the JP International Center (JPIC) will house a modern and world-class modular convention centre and Olympic-sized swimming pool. It will also have an indoor sports complex, a restaurant and a guest house in addition to an auditorium and two seminar halls. For bibliophiles and art lovers, a library and a museum are also proposed. Visitors can also relax in a gymnasium or a health centre while children can spend time in a pool for them. There will also be provision for volleyball, basketball, badminton, table-tennis, squash, snooker and billiards, etc.
3. NEW HIGH COURT BUILDING | Rs 200 cr
Lawyers will get better facilities as a new high court building comes up spread over a sprawling 40-acre plot in posh Gomtinagar Extension. Lawyer would have proper chambers, while drivers will have a sitting room. The five-storey building would have a three-tier underground parking facility with a capacity for 5,000 four-wheelers and 15,000 two-wheelers. Visitors to the court can stay in a guest house. There will be a club house, canteen, dispensary, as well as an independent computerized railway reservation centre. To be made a high security zone, the entire building would be covered by close-circuit cameras.
4. WORLD LEVEL 8-CYCLE TRACK VELODROME | Rs 168 cr
Be ready to become a part of eco-friendly culture with the coming up of a world-level 8-cycle track velodrome. Cycling is pollution-free. It improves health and is also a less expensive mode of transportation. Officials said only motivation for people to resort to it was needed. Developed nations have included cycling tracks in their road engineering and experienced a jam-free traffic movement.
5. SHAKUNTALA MISHRA UNIV | Rs 87 cr
The university which houses 50% differently able students has plans to have a central library. Students will get a new academic block and auditorium while professors will get permanent residences on campus. Law students will have a separate floor where classes will be held peacefully.
6. DIGITISATION OF FILES OF ALLAHABAD HC | Rs 65 cr
The Allahabad high court including the Lucknow bench has a number of pending cases and a lot of space is needed for storage and maintenance of files. Hence, digitization of files is necessary so that cases are sorted quickly. More court rooms will be constructed and more lawyers would be appointed to hear pending cases. A total of 50 crore pages will be digitized.
7. NEW ANNEXE BUILDING | Rs 100 CR
The coming up of a new annexe building of secretariat will give more space and better infrastructure facilities to the government officials. It is coming up near Darulshafa.
Source: TOI, 25th Feb 2015
Technology has emerged as the new language to help the blind see. It's no longer necessary for a blind person to know Braille was the consensus that seemed to emerge among participants and organisers of a unique car rally in the city this weekend.
Leave applied on medical certificate in connection with disability of a government employee should not be refused or revoked, the Centre has said.
Saturday, 21 February 2015
Differently-abled petitioners were given preference over the general crowd on the second day of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s janta darbar at the Aam Aadmi Party’s Kaushambi office that lasted more than an hour on Thursday.
A three-tier security ring was thrown around the CM during the public interaction, which was attended by more than 500 people, including well-wishers who came with sweets and garlands.
“The CM wanted to meet the disabled first, so they were given preference, irrespective of their time of arrival,” Ghaziabad city magistrate Kapil Singh, who was supervising the event, said.
Complainants started trooping in as early as 8 am for the session that started at 10 am. Later, groups of 10 people, five men and five women, were allowed to meet the chief minister in batches.
Mr Kejriwal came out around 11.30 am and appealed to the gathering, who were still awaiting their turn, to submit their grievances to the officials.
“I am leaving from here, as I have to attend a very important meeting. But do not go from here until your concerns are submitted to the officers here because you have voted me to solve your problems,” he said.
Amit Chhabaria, a senior official from the chief minister’s office, said, “We are collecting the complaint letters which would be sent to respective authorities to take action accordingly.”
But a few people were disappointed with the arrangement. “We came here to put our grievances before Kejriwal only, but it is very sad that he left without hearing our complaint,” said Manoj Kushwaha, who came from Dwarka.
Meanwhile, party volunteers clarified that Mr Kejriwal would be holding meetings between 10 am to 11 am on each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Visually-impaired 45-year-old Prem Kumar, who managed to meet the chief minister, said, “The CM expressed his inability to give me employment, but he assured me to do something for my accommodation requirements.”
Source: The Asian Age , 20th Feb 2015
Police on Thursday began an inquiry into the alleged harassment and assault by police personnel of 19-year-old John Augustine Fernandes of Gaurawaddo, Calangute.
John was allegedly beaten up at the Calangute police station after he was picked up by police personnel from his house on Sunday afternoon for his alleged involvement in a theft case at a guesthouse. A senior police officer told TOI that John will be called on Friday for his statement to be recorded and to identify the personnel who beat him up.
At Gauravaddo, John and his mother, Telma, have moved out of the family's small, single-room accommodation and are residing with relatives. Locals said Telma, who supported the family by working as a housemaid, is scared John will be further harmed and she will be harassed, especially after her appeal to the IGP to take action against the policemen who brutalized her son.
John's father, Alexandre, a differently-abled, is alone at the house since Wednesday and speaks to the constant stream of John's friends and well-wishers. He doesn't know where his wife and son are, and doesn't know why his child was beaten up by the police.
TOI spoke to John and Telma telephonically on Thursday. They requested that their current location not be revealed. Recalling what happened to him, John said that around 12.30pm on Sunday he stepped out of his house to go to church and from there to Margao to participate in the Carnival parade when Calangute police turned up and "started beating me without reason". "They then arrested me without any warrant and took me to Calangute police station," he said, adding that the police allegedly removed his shirt without his permission and started beating him again.
"The beating went on for around an hour; then they started asking me if I had robbed from a guesthouse at Calangute. I said no, I pleaded with them to stop, and I requested them to check if there was any CCTV footage available at the guesthouse." John claimed that when the personnel checked the CCTV footage they realized he was not in it.
He said that he managed to contact his mother, Telma, around 2pm, "through someone who had come to the police station". Telma told TOI that when she inquired with the police at the station about her son, she was told he had been arrested in a theft case, was not allowed to meet him, and was told to come back at 5pm.
Both told TOI that before John was released at 9pm, police took an undertaking from them that the matter is closed and the police have nothing to do with it. Telma then took her son to the Candolim health centre where he was referred to the Goa Medical College (GMC) and Hospital, Bambolim. She said when her son's treatment was under way when two police personnel from the Calangute police station arrived at GMC and the doctor later told her to take her son home.
"I want action taken against the guesthouse owner who named my son in the complaint, and the police personnel involved in the case," Telma stressed to TOI.
At Gaurawaddo, the taxi operators whose stand is at the entrance of the narrow lane that leads to John's house, swear that the lad is no thief. "He is a very good dancer and would take part in dance shows and competitions to earn some money to pay for his education. He is a simple boy, we know him since his childhood, we used to see him everyday," said a taxi driver. John, an open school student, is suppose to appear for Class XII exams in March.
Another taxi driver added, "He is such a simple boy that he would dance for us whenever we asked and we would give him just chocolates."
A taxi owner who took John to a private hospital on Wednesday, told TOI, "Police are saying that he is fit; I took him to hospital on Wednesday afternoon and he was not able to even move his hand. He was in terrible pain."
A friend who had come to meet John at Gaurawaddo on Thursday evening, said the youngster was part of the group, Born to Dance, and conducted dance classes for children. "He is a very simple boy and we cannot imagine him being involved in any crime. He must have been framed," said the friend.
The police inquiry is being conducted by North Goa SP Priyanka Kashyap and the report is likely to be handed over to IGP Sunil Garg for further action.
Source: TOI,20th Feb 2015
Despite being a hub for rehabilitation studies and services, Tiruchi
still lags behind when it comes to providing a barrier-free environment
for the differently-abled and elderly.
For many residents of Tiruchi, nearly every public space seems to have a design protocol that covertly excludes senior citizens and the differently-abled from venturing out without fear of injury, or in extreme cases, fatal accidents.
This insensitivity, whether at a personal or policy level, is all the more ironic when one considers the city’s sterling reputation as a regional and state-level hub of rehabilitation studies and services.
A group of educators from the Research Department of Rehabilitation Science and Special Education, Holy Cross College, lists out the barriers that have made self-reliance in a public place almost impossible for the differently-abled in particular. “Disabled-friendly public toilets are a must,” says P. Nagalakshmi, Associate Professor. “The existing toilets, especially in schools and colleges, should be fitted with grab bars. Right now, they are forced to use the toilet by crawling on the wet floor. A low-level railing near the water closet will be of great help.”
Summing up the general attitude of the public when it comes to affirmative action, she says, “People think that sponsoring a free meal for the special needs kids is enough. But special schools should not accept these charitable donations, it takes away from their core purpose to encourage an inclusive society.”
A recent student project by the department found that government buildings in Tiruchi had more accessibility problems than privately-owned structures, when compared against a checklist provided by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI).
Among the many glaring examples of policy oversight that the educators listed are: the lack of even one public park with modified street furniture and playground equipment for differently-abled children, the uneven paving of sidewalks which makes it off-limits for wheelchair-use, and the absence of audio guides at traffic signals to help visually-impaired pedestrians safely across busy junctions in the city.
Nearly everyone interviewed for this article mentioned the apathy of transport staff to the plight of passengers hampered by age or disability.
Not special, but equal
“India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which has many legislative provisions for creating a barrier-free environment,” says C.
Shanthakumar, director, The Spastics Society of Tiruchirapalli. “It is wrong to even call them ‘special’, instead we should treat them as our equals,” he says.
The Society’s day-care and educational centre in Ramalinga Nagar has already put into practice, most of the recommendations of the Convention in its 15,000 square feet campus. Students on wheelchairs can pay their fees by approaching the specially lowered reception counter, which also has enough knee space.
A ramp, designed at the ratio of one foot of ramp to each inch of rise (1:12), runs right up to the third floor of the building. Unlike hospital ramps, which are commonly steeper and narrower, this walkway encourages children to exercise their limbs and also helps caregivers or users to push wheelchairs up and down with ease and safety.
“Due to the increase in the average life span, many people have a second innings in their late sixties,” says Shanthakumar.
“These days, senior citizens opt to work in the private sector after retirement. This section of the population has its own needs, which have to be catered to.”
For M. Prabhavathy, Assistant Professor and Head, Centre for Differently Abled Persons, Bharathidasan University, disability is simply an inability to function normally.
“These days we are getting geriatric problems like chronic knee pain at a younger age,” she says. “This is also an impairment, and not something confined to just a particular set of people. Only when the authorities treat it as a universal issue, will there be a change in policies and building design.”
For veteran resident Dr. Bapu Mathuram, who uses a walking stick regularly, the uneven roads pose a problem. “If there’s a small gap in the surface, the stick can get caught in it,” he says, adding that he rarely goes out unaccompanied these days because of he fears the danger of tripping.
“Small changes, like a railing can help us to climb stairs easily,” he suggests. “Most people are quite courteous and helpful when you approach them, but in places like banks and government offices, a special lane to fast-track senior citizens and the differently-abled will be useful.”
The ground reality for many of the city’s differently-abled and senior citizens
1. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are invariably accessible only to those who can climb stairs without any support. Plush doors that tend to swing back hard, can be a safety hazard.
2. State and private buses with steep steps that are a challenge to every traveller, not just the differently-abled or the elderly. Insensitive staff shout at slow passengers, and also start the vehicle before everyone is safely on board and do not ensure that the seat reserved for the disabled by law is kept vacant for them.
3. Staircases without railings. Those that do have banisters/railings, are rendered unusable by silly ‘beautification’ ideas like having serial lights draped around the metal, or flower pots on each step which further impede access.
4. Swank new buildings that need a magic carpet to take the old and differently-abled to the entrance on the first floor, because though underground parking is available, there’s no lift from the basement.
5. Very few wheelchair-users are seen on the pavements, because these are already occupied by street hawkers and illegally parked vehicles.
Some of the user-friendly features of The Spastics Society of Tiruchirapalli building
1. International signage
2. Reception counter with knee space for wheelchair users
3. Double doors, with one bigger than the other, to accommodate walking aids; with push handles and a glass panel
4. A zero-obstruction corridor; all doors and windows open inward rather than outward to prevent injury to corridor users.
5. Ramp: Gradient not steeper than 12 inches.
6. Round handrails with continuous grip, extends out in landing area.
7. Short, rounded steps
8. Lift at a low height, on level with floor, with handrails and buttons with Braille lettering at a lower level
9. Toilets with grab bars
10. Wash basins with long handle levered-taps and knee space below the sink
Source : The Hindu , 20th Feb 2015