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Will DU get disabled-friendly?

A special counter at the office of the DSW sells forms for physically challenged students.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 16:08 IST

A special counter at the office of the Dean of Students' Welfare (DSW) sells admission forms for the physically challenged students at the Delhi University.

Ironically, the iron gate at the DSW office is a challenge for the disabled students, who have to be helped to cross it. And for hundreds of blind students trudging to North Campus, procuring an admission form is an ordeal.

Ask Manoj Kumar, who took 24 hours before he could get some help. Kumar’s problem? The information bulletin is available in Hindi or English, and not in Braille. Dean, Students Welfare, SK Vij said, “The number of blind students applying is not substantial. We extend all possible help. In fact, next year, we are hoping to have information in Braille.”

For the blind students, a lot has improved at DU. Most colleges provide them with cassette recorders, books in Braille, computers and a special talking software. But for the physically challenged or hearing impaired, facilities are few. “Lack of disabled-friendly facilities in colleges is a major deterrent,” said Javed Abidi, Executive Director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).

“There is not a single DU college that has students with even partial hearing disability.” Though colleges are slowly waking up to the problem, their number is limited. Colleges such as Hindu, Kirori Mal, Daulat Ram, Kamla Nehru and Sri Venkateswara have ramps.

But they not have disable-friendly toilets. Last year, of the 1,000 seats available in DU, only 300 were taken up by the disabled students, informed Vij. The biggest problem seems to be commuting.

Sanjeev Sachdeva of Saamathya, an organisation that works for people with disabilities, says buses and bus shelters should be made disabled-friendly.

K J Kuriyen, principal of JPM Senior Secondary School for the Blind, feels that accommodation is another problem as there are no hostels for them near the colleges.