BHUBANESWAR: Odisha has missed the deadline of making all government buildings fully accessible to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the capital city. As per the Supreme Court deadline, all government buildings were to be made fully accessible to PwDs by end of June.
However, around 40 per cent buildings in the city are yet to comply with the direction.Sources said of the 253 buildings initially identified in the state capital by the Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) department, retrofitting work has been completed in 139 so far.
The Centre was to provide funds for retrofitting of 50 buildings and the work on remaining ones had to be carried out by the state government.
The Works department had identified 203 of the total 253 buildings for retrofitting. However, it has completed the work in 117 buildings so far. Of the 50 buildings which were to be made fully accessible for PwDs with funds from the Centre in Phase-I, retrofitting work has been completed in only 22 within the deadline set by the apex court.
An official of the SSEPD department attributed the slow pace of work to unavailability of funds and delay in cost estimates. Of the remaining 28 buildings, work in nine is underway while funds for the rest are yet to be received from the Centre, he said.
The retrofitting work is being carried out by the Works department, CPWD, BMC and Idco.
“Cost estimates for five buildings are to be re-submitted to the Centre as these were lost in a fire mishap. Similarly, the Works Department is yet to make the cost estimates for five buildings.
The department has been asked to prepare the estimates within a week along with additional five newly proposed government buildings,” the official said.
Apart from the buildings, the SC has also directed for making all government websites accessible for PwDs. But out of 240 government websites identified, only 112 have been made accessible.
Director of SSEPD department Susanta Mohapatra said the agencies entrusted with the retrofitting work have been asked to expedite work and Electronics and Information Technology department told to monitor work for accessibility of websites.
“Apart from the state capital, a list of 10 populous towns in the state, where government buildings will be made accessible to PwDs, has already been sent to the Works department.
The buildings in these towns will be made accessible by the end of this year,” he added.