In race of getting a smart city tag, the UT administration is leaving behind a section of people on wheelchair, who are an important a part of the society.
For hundreds of such people, it is difficult to live in a city where they can’t even “roam around independently”. The city’s unfriendly approach towards ‘people on wheelchair’ make them feel crippled and disabled.
A teenager Fateh Mohit Whig (18) has taken up the issue with UT adviser Parimal Rai, though he has not received any reply from him so far. Fateh has a congenital Spina Bifida (a medical condition in which one has no control over his bowel, bladder and legs), a shunt in the brain and a heart deformity. He is the son of a gallant army officer, Major Mohit Whig, who gave away his life fighting for the nation in Jammu and Kashmir in 1997.
Sharing his story, he said, “Chandigarh is known for greenery and lush-green parks, but sadly these parks have no place for people on wheelchair. I have not visited any park in the city, expect one and that too when I was young.”
He has stopped going to PVR at Elante Mall, as it not disabled friendly. “It is a most demeaning thing to watch a movie at PVR there. Unlike other malls, there is no system at place for the convenience of disabled people. Four people have to pick me up to take me to the seat. It is so humiliating that I have stopped going to Elante mall now.”
Fateh’s mother, Tina M Whig said, “For the last two years, we have been complaining to the Elante mall authorities but to no avail.”
Not only parks or malls, but markets and restaurants are constructed in a way that there’s no specific provision for wheelchair-bound people. Fateh is doing law from the PU. Even its canteen is not disabled-friendly. In the letter, Fateh has requested to make public places more accessible to the disabled.
“I can’t even enter any shop, and my mother has to buy things for me while I wait in the car. Besides, there is a need to construct more disabled-friendly washrooms around the city town,” he wrote. He said the first step in becoming a smart city will be to have an access to the disabled everywhere. Fateh has just returned from Melbourne, Australia, after completing a three-week course at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
“In Melbourne, I could go anywhere on my own, there are ramps everywhere. I did shopping on my own and travelled the place for the first time -- all alone. But Chandigarh makes you realise that you are disabled.
“It seems the city has forgotten its disabled people,” Fateh said.