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Resource id #4 Accessible accommodation denied in Symbiosis Law College; Nightmare continues for Pooja Sharma - Volume 4 Issue 12: Disability News and Information Service for India

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Volume 4 Issue 12 - June 15, 2006

Accessible accommodation denied in Symbiosis Law College; Nightmare continues for Pooja Sharma

D.N.I.S. News NetworkPooja Sharma, a bright disabled student from Meerut, with a score of 71 per cent in Class XII exams, aspires to be a lawyer. She had applied in various Law colleges and with great difficulty, got admission in Symbiosis Law College, Pune. Now the college refuses to provide accessible accommodation, putting Pooja and her parents in a fix. They have been running from pillar to post for the past few weeks. But in a show of negative attitude, the authorities are refusing to provide the student a single room and also refusing to accommodate an aide to help her.

Despite classes having started on June 5, Pooja is unable to attend college as she continues to fight for a singe seater room inside the campus and for the permission to have her mother or any one escort stay with her, as she needs help.

Symbiosis does have single rooms and Pooja is willing to pay for it. Unfortunately, they provide single rooms only to N.R.I.s. Therefore, the college authorities including the senior management staff, instead of doing the needful, first tried to persuade Pooja’s parents to admit her in a college “closer home”. Then, instead of providing a single room, they provided her a triple seater, fully knowing that being severely disabled and being a wheelchair user, she would not be able to manage and that her dignity would be compromised. They were made to run from one office to another meeting the hostel warden, the Principal Director, Vice Chancellor, etc., and finally told that they could not be provided a single room.

While all this was happening, Pooja’s parents were forced to stay in a hotel in Pune at a huge personal cost. When they realised their pleas were not getting them anywhere, they appealed to Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.) to help them.

D.R.G. Convenor Javed Abidi then took up the matter with the college authorities. D.R.G. also brought this matter to the attention of U.G.C., H.R.D. Ministry and the media.

But the President & Founder Director, in a reply reflecting their apathetic attitude, took great pains to inform D.R.G. that they had gone “out of their way to admit Pooja and to facilitate her movement provided a special ramp” and that they had found a single room on the ground floor in a building near the law college.

This only proves that after a long ten years of the Disability Act, even top Law Colleges have not implemented any provisions. The statement “out of their way to admit Pooja” proves that the provision of 3 per cent reservation for disabled is yet not implemented in the college, while the claim that they “provided a special ramp to facilitate her movement” shows that the college is inaccessible like most other colleges in India, despite legislations to this effect. As for the single room found outside the college, the provision cannot be used by Pooja, as this would entail travel which does nothing but add to her woes.

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