KOCHI: Look at the city's infrastructure - the buildings and other constructions - the progressive nature of Kochi doesn't seem to consider the plight of the disabled residents, even as, 'Inclusion matters: Access and empowerment for people of all abilities' is the theme of IDPD (International Day of Persons with Disability) to be observed on Thursday.
People with impairment constitute 56 per cent of the city's population, but they are still not given enough importance in society; rather, many 'normal' people considered them a liability. While considering the treatment towards them, their uplift is a big question.
Knowledge and acceptance among the builders as well as the customers of the requirements of the disabled is limited. Few architects are aware of the allowances, budgets and other funds provided by the government. Those who are aware do set up such arrangements for the mere sake of acquiring the financial aid and the construction does not follow the norms favouring the disabled. Ramps and lifts that claim to be disabled-friendly are mostly inaccessible to them. These ramps are used as convenient paths for pushing luggage trolleys.
Very few places in Kochi are disabled-friendly. Be it malls, restaurants, ticket counters, buses or stalls - there are no provisions for the physically challenged. Even if some hospitals can be considered more disabled-friendly, the basic necessities like toilets and canteen do not favour them.
According to Sara, a leading architect of the city, 'special constructions' are built for the families of the physically challenged.
''Changes are still taking place and they are reflected in the development of the state, they also vary in type and volume,'' says K J Sohan former chairman, Town Planning Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation.