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Access not legally binding, feels Urban Development Joint Secretary!

D.N.I.S. News Network: A.K. Mehta, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development feels that access is not legally binding, as the Disability Act of 1995 says that ensuring access depends on ‘economic capacity’! This shocking statement was made by Mehta in a meeting with Javed Abidi, Honorary Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) on December 17.

Mehta also disclosed that the Ministry is currently studying the access guidelines of various countries to come out with a comprehensive guideline for India.

D.N.I.S. had earlier carried a story on how the Ministry had called for applications for conducting access audits of public places in Delhi without fixing any technical criteria. A meeting was also convened by Mehta to ‘harmonise the three guidelines currently in place for accessibility’. Neither AccessAbility nor N.C.P.E.D.P. were invited to this meeting. N.C.P.E.D.P. then wrote to Mehta on October 12 on this issue and submitted a copy of the proposed revisions to the Access Guidelines in the National Building Code. The letter was not even acknowledged until Abidi brought this to the notice of Jaipal Reddy, Minister of Urban Development in their meeting on December 4.