Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An app to tell you which public places are accessible

Monday, February 17, 2014 - 06:00 IST | Agency: DNA

Want to know if a restaurant, mall, cinema or a public promenade is friendly for the differently abled? Or whether the lifts in a public building can be used seamlessly by those confined to a wheelchair?

Help may soon be at hand with the state information technology (IT) department planning to develop an app and a linked website which will enable the physically challenged to record their feedback about whether facilities and public spaces are disabled friendly.

Rajesh Aggarwal, principal secretary, IT, told dna that they were working on developing an app to indicate disabled-friendly areas and facilities. "Users will be actually keying in the data," said Aggarwal, adding that this could even cover issues like whether a wheelchair could be accommodated in a cinema hall, mall, multiplex or a walkway.

This facility will also raise awareness about buildings and facilities which are disabled friendly and also compel those which are not suitable for the physically handicapped to re-engineer themselves accordingly to fit the requirements.

The IT department plans to launch the app on Android platforms to be accessed by smart phone users while a corresponding website will be developed for those who do not use smartphones. Aggarwal said they would also request Microsoft to help get the app on the Windows platform.

Welcoming the idea, HK Savla, managing trustee, Jeevan Jyot Cancer Relief and Care Trust, which works for cancer patients and the disabled, said this initiative would raise awareness about the need to make public spaces more disabled friendly. He pointed out that only a few buildings had ramps for the disabled or even toilets to meet their requirements. Savla also recalled an instance where a girl working in a post office was unable to take her wheelchair into the building or even to the toilet.

The department is also developing apps for MahaNews and Lokrajya and has come out with an app to enable users to view the government resolutions (GR) issued by the state government. While MahaNews is the state government's official news and information website, Lokrajya is the state government's official magazine and mouthpiece. The magazine will be available in Marathi, English and Urdu on the app.

Source: DNA India

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