Volume 2 Issue 24 - December 15, 2004

Breaking down barriers

DNIS News Network - Disha’s new building in Jaipur sets an example in accessibility.

Some say the biggest challenge facing the world today is breaking down barriers between people. A building in Jaipur has taken the first step towards overcoming this challenge by making itself accessible to all people with disabilities.

The structure, built by the Disha Foundation, has set an example by making its main circulation routes comfortable for people in wheelchairs. The architect, B. Ashok Lal, said that the purpose of the building, apart from making itself accessible to disabled people, was to build a model that others could replicate. Says Deepak Kalra, Director, Programmes at Disha, “It has not cost us more than others to be disabled friendly,” refuting the myth that installing special facilities is an expensive affair.

Spread over 27 square feet and constructed at the cost of Rs 2 crore, the building takes into account people with all kinds of disabilities, including cerebal palsy and other neurological conditions. Some of the special provisions are Braille markings at strategic points for visually impaired people, railings that run across the building, signage for hearing impaired people and visual symbols for those who cannot read. For those in wheelchairs, unobstructed ramps have been constructed interspersed with flat surfaces for them to pause and rest. Doors of the correct width allow space for arms to push wheelchairs. Ramps are finished with non-slip materials, and there are no sharp edges anywhere.

Fire safety regulations also take into account the fact that people with different disabilities should be able to easily access open balconies and terraces.

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