Delhi not disabled-friendly: Study

Delhi may claim to be a world-class city but it lacks basic disabled-friendly infrastructure, a study has found.

New Delhi: Delhi may claim to be a world-class city but it lacks basic disabled-friendly infrastructure, a study has found.

The study, conducted in some of the city`s busiest places like Connaught Place, Lodhi Road, Sarai Kale Khan and Nehru Place during past one month by an NGO, found that street infrastructure was missing, making it difficult for disabled and elderly people to navigate.

During the study, NGO Samarthyam sent a team of persons with disabilities, reduced mobility, pregnant women, elderly persons, children, persons carrying luggage and those with temporary ailments to visit these places and check accessibility.

Some of the key problems they found at Connaught Place were lack of proper signages and audio signals, non-continuity of tactile pavers and pelican crossings.

"It is important that street infrastructure should be accessible, safe and dignified for all, irrespective of age, gender and disability," said Anjalee Agarwal, the director of Samarthyam.

The study found that Sarai Kale Khan Inter State Bus Terminus, a key terminus and having proximity to Nizamuddin railways station, seriously lacked connectivity between footpaths.

Besides this, footpath height and width varied at many places, there was lack of kerb ramps and no pedestrian crossing in front of ISBT, open drain on footpath and encroachments of footpath by hawkers.

"The street is active during the day and evening but encroachments, uneven pavements, and obstacles make it unfriendly for persons with disabilities, women and senior citizens," she said.

Similar problems were encountered at the busy Nehru Place, considered as India`s biggest grey market of computer goods.

"The first goal of the study was to work with stakeholders in the implementation process -- architects, engineers, planners, contractors, public agencies and government department that construct and maintains public facilities, to inform and educate them about the need for access and safety," Agarwal said.

During the Commonwealth Games, infrastructure was developed keeping in mind the ease of movement for disabled people.

"It is ironical that while investment in improving public transport is increasing every year, little is being done to improve accessibility to terminals like bus stop and railway stations," said Parthaa Bosu, India representative of Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities.