Volume 3 Issue 21 - November 01, 2005

N.C.P.E.D.P. presents its recommendations to make Master Plan Delhi–2021 disabled-friendly

D.N.I.S. News Network - In a promising development for the disability sector, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) was invited by the Delhi Development Authority to present its criticisms/suggestions to make the Draft Master Plan Delhi-2021 (M.P.D.) disabled-friendly..

Picture of participants in the dharna

The Executive Director of N.C.P.E.D.P., Javed Abidi, made a presentation the Board of Inquiry and Hearing on 29th October, emphatically stating that the urgency to address the issue of access in the urban landscape of the National Capital cannot be underplayed on the pretext of a resource problem. It is planning and focus that is needed, he said.

The presentation also became a medium of sensitisation for representatives of private and civil society organisations present at the hearing, and not mention the board that constituted of the top brass of the D.D.A.. Besides making written suggestions in response to the Draft M.P.D., he also shared instances of how disabled people continue to be virtual prisoners in their houses due to lack of accessible infrastructure. For instance, he said, there is not even one bus in the entire Delhi Transport Corporation fleet that is disabled- friendly.

He brought to the notice of the board that the front entrance to the venue of the hearing at Indian Institute Public Policy and Administration was not disabled-friendly as it did not have a ramp and the guards at the gate were unaware about the existence a ramp on the backside of the building.

The invitation had arrived only a day before a hearing in the Delhi High Court on a petition filed way back in 2001 by Abidi on the issue of access. Incidentally, the Authority had been sternly asked by the Honble Court to file an affidavit along with photographs to show its progress vis--vis access.

When the ambitious Draft M.P.D. was placed for public feedback, N.C.P.E.D.P. and others in the disability sector expressed shock on the clear omission of access features for people with disabilities and aged. A set of recommendation was rushed to the authority concerned.

The issue was also taken up with Honble Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit, who not only supported the demand for taking onboard a disability expert in planning, design and implementation of the M.P.D., but also promised to take up the recommendation with Union Urban Development Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

In this backdrop, the D.D.A. responded to the recommendations sent on 7th July 2005, only recently on 25th October asking Abidi to present the Objection/Suggestion to the Board of Inquiry and Hearing on 29th October. It has been a matter of grave concern for the disability sector at large that a number of city development plans by the Government have failed to address concerns of people with disabilities, thus effectively perpetuating the mistakes of the past instead of seizing the opportunity to make amends. Hopefully, the recommendations will be incorporated into the master plan when the revised Draft M.P.D. is made public.

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