THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The district administration has drawn flak from the State Commissionerate for Persons with Disability (SCPD) for its repeated disregard for a disabled appellant who had made a request to make a village office disabled-friendly. Commissioner at SCPD, N Ahemed Pillai, directed the District Collector, Biju Prabhakar, to map out and shift the office to a convenient building within 60 days.
Srikantan Nair, who is more than 75 per cent disabled, had approached the Manacaud village office for renewing his aged mother’s life certificate. However, the steep and long stairs at the entrance of the village office stopped him from completing the formalities. So, he filed a complaint with the commissionerate regarding the difficulty for the disabled there.
In September 2013, the commissionerate notified the then District Collector, K N Satheesh, about the complaint and recommended to take appropriate action as per the rights of the disabled as enacted in 1995. However, ‘’the district administration did not respond and showed indifference,’’ said a statement issued by ex officio secretary of Ahemed Pillai. The commissionerate criticised the indifference of the Collector towards the issue, who asked for extension of time, as the issue had been initially brought to the district administration’s notice around a year before.
The statement further said that the Collector, who was the authority in charge to supervise implementation of disabled people’s rights, entrusted the PWD to build a ramp for disabled persons, without visiting the place. However, the engineer concerned who visited the village office informed the commission of his sheer helplessness to build the ramp as it would be too steep owing to the challenging topography of the location.
“The commission realises the seriousness of issue as it is estimated that the village office is a place where five to six disabled persons come on a daily basis. It will not be incorrect if the commission observes the slowcoach mentality of the authorities to be in justice towards the disabled is a human rights violation,” said Ahamed Pillai.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Kowdiar village office at Vellayambalam is also among the government offices which have no arrangements in place for the disabled. The office is located at much a lower level from the public road, giving poor access to disabled persons.
“Suo motu actions would be taken by the commissionerate to ensure the presence of disabled-friendly systems at government offices to mitigate difficulties faced by physically-challenged individuals who approach the offices,’’ added the commissioner of SCPD.
Biju Prabhakar has been asked to inform the commissionerate about the action taken following the order.