Of the six hostels functioning in the city for blind students, four are being run in rented buildings. This is causing a problem to the blind students as these buildings are not custom-built for them. There no ramps but only steps which are making them stumble, slip or even fall, resulting in injuries to them, the Human Rights Society has pointed out.
To take stock of the living conditions of the blind hostels in the city, the HRS has constituted a fact-finding committee with four members and the findings were released at a press briefing held here on Sunday.
“As per the disabled welfare department, there should be ramps in blind hostels. In fact, some of these buildings are four-storeyed and causing injuries to the students. Moreover, the hostels do not have a doctor facility. The situation is so pathetic that the students are not provided with health check-up even once a year,” says N Rajeswara Rao, general secretary of HRS.
Further, the wardens are indifferent to keeping the hostel clean and most of the hostels lack proper sanitation. “A case in point is Shalivahana Girls Hostel where the walls and pipes are cracked and water is leaking. There is no effort being made by the wardens to maintain basic cleanliness in dining halls and kitchens,” he explains.
The government should provide about 200 Braille sheets to each student in a year, but the students are receiving only 100 sheets. “It will be very difficult for blind students to prepare for competitive examinations without Braille sheets. They are also not receiving the required audio material,” he observes.
With the lackadaisical approach of the authorities to providing readers’ charges, the students are facing an uphill task in preparing for competitive examinations. “The government should immediately hike private reading charges from Rs 720 to Rs 1,500,” he says.