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Sunday, Sep 15, 2019

Disabled social workers suffer rude treatment at Pune police HQ

pune Updated: Apr 10, 2018 15:16 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times,Pune
After being made to wait for hours, the wheelchair-bound social workers were lifted by cops to reach the first floor of the commissionerate  office to meet up with city’s top cop Rashmi Shukla.
After being made to wait for hours, the wheelchair-bound social workers were lifted by cops to reach the first floor of the commissionerate office to meet up with city’s top cop Rashmi Shukla. (HT PHOTO )

Eight disabled social workers who had come to meet Pune police commissioner Rashmi Shukla by appointment last week suffered rude treatment right from the time they entered the gates of the office.

Working for the cause of the physically challenged through the NGO Prahar Kranti Andolan, the group was meeting the commissioner as a goodwill gesture. However, they were not only refused permission to bring their cars inside the commissionerate premises, but had to also wait for almost four hours before they finally met the commissioner on April 5. Most of the members of the group were wheelchair bound.

Narrating the ordeal caused by the absence of ramps and lifts, the NGO’s spokesperson Rafique Khan said, “We waited till 6pm as the policemen assured us that the police commissioner will come down to meet us. Fed up with hours of waiting, our escorts finally lifted us to the first floor.”

Angry and disturbed by the overall experience , Khan, while speaking to Hindustan Times, demanded construction of a ramp and a lift for the disabled at the commissionerate. He also sought reserved parking for the disabled inside the commissionerate premises.

“ We had a terrible experience from the constabulary, who kept us waiting for hours together at the commissionerate. Parking is a major issue outside the main entrance gate . A woman constable at the gate did not allow us inside in our cars and was rude enough in her behaviour. The policemen need to be sensitised about the laws protecting the disabled,” Khan said.

The group raised these issues with the police commissioner whom they had come to meet as a goodwill gesture.They were satisfied when Shukla instructed her officials to take note of the suggestions made by the disabled social workers. Additional commissioner (administration ) Sahebrao Patil told HT, “We met the disabled persons. All their issues will be looked into. We are approaching the persons with disability (PwD) department for construction of a ramp for the physically challenged persons.”

Akash Kumbhar, a member of the group, said that disabled persons must not be kept waiting for long and must be given priority to meet the officials concerned at the commissionerate in accordance with the General Rule (GR) of the state government.

“The laws empowering the disabled under Disabilities Act are being thrown to the wind at the CP’s office. The commissionerate should have voluntarily implemented the Disabilities Act. Sadly, there are no information boards for disabled persons at the comissionerate,” he said with rage.

Under the Scheme for Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 (SIPDA), the ministry of social justice and empowerment provides grants-in-aid to all states and union territories to provide barrier-free environment in important government buildings. These include the state secretariat, other important state level offices, collectorates, state university buildings/ campuses, medical colleges and main hospitals at divisional headquarters, besides other important government buildings.

This includes provision for ramps, rails, lifts, adaptation of toilets for wheelchair users, Braille signage and auditory signals and tactile flooring.

Serving the disabled

•Sections 44, 45 and 46 of Persons with disability (PwD) Act,1995, deals with non-discrimination in transport, non-discrimination on the road and non-discrimination in the built environment, respectively.

• The social justice and empowerment ministry as well as the chief commissioner for persons with disabilities (CCPD) from time to time request the state govts./UT administrations to provide barrier free access to public places by constructing ramps, lifts and railings.

• CCPD also takes up with the state govts./authorities concerned as and when non-availability of facilities for access to public places for persons with disabilities comes to light.

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 14:35 IST