Volume 6 Issue 11 - November 15, 2009

Ministry fixes no technical criteria for conducting access audits!

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: After a fourteen year slumber, the Ministry of Urban Development recently jolted into action to make public places accessible to disabled persons. Accordingly, it invited tenders from interested parties to conduct access audits of 50 government buildings in Delhi. However, an application filed under Right to Information (R.T.I.) Act has revealed shocking details.

In a reply to an R.T.I. application filed by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.), the Ministry has stated that NO technical criteria was fixed for allotting the contract to conduct the access audits! The Ministry also said that there was NO minimum technical or professional qualification on the subject of architectural accessibility for short listing the agencies. Also, out of the 3 organisations that applied, even though AccessAbility got the highest score, it surprisingly did not get the contract.

Access audits need both a scientific knowhow and technical expertise for it to be of any use. Needless to say, Delhi is full of examples of warped ideas of accessibility like ramps that have the wrong gradients and are thus too steep, bus stops which claim to be accessible but are not and so on. There are far too many examples of how hard earned money of taxpayers goes down the drain just because of uninformed decisions of the Government and bad implementation.

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