Showing posts with label Inaccessibility of Public Infrastructure in Delhi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inaccessibility of Public Infrastructure in Delhi. Show all posts

Friday, May 17, 2019

Two months after ‘opening’, Basant Lok market still a patchwork of repairs

Ms. Vibha Sharma | TNN  | May 16, 2019

NEW DELHI: The revamped Basant Lok Market in south Delhi was inaugurated on March 5. And yet, there is hardly a sense of things being all right there. The parking area is yet to be tiled, the two entrances opposite Munirka Marg haven’t been refurbished, the lanes at the back aren’t finished and neither the installing of the tensile umbrella at the open amphitheatre and the fire hydrants nor the construction of the toilet block have been done.

Five days before the model code of conduct kicked in after the announcement of the general elections two months ago, Union minister for housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri had inaugurated the so-called restored market. The shop owners today claim that progress on the project slowed down after that, leaving over 25% of the planned work pending.

The revamp work began in September 2018 and Delhi Development Authority was to have finished the project by March 2019. “DDA did construct an amphitheatre, reorganised the public spaces and put in tree guards and steel benches, while also providing pedestrian connectivity with Vasant Vihar metro station,” a shop owner said, requesting anonymity. “But the internal lanes next to the PVR complex remain dug up. Likewise, the water tank hasn’t been done nor the surfacing of the parking lot near Munirka Marg.”

Traders also alleged compromises in the quality of work and the non-inclusion of features such as disabled-friendly aids. “The tactile paving and the granite stones have already started eroding, and the construction debris still lying around, giving the market a shoddy look,” grumbled a trader.

A DDA official refuted the allegations. “It’s not true that the pace of work slowed down after the inauguration. In fact, we are making all effort to ensure quality of construction,” he said. “It will take us 3-4 months more to take care of the pending work.  The tensile umbrella, for instance, is 14 metres high and heavy and needs a proper base. That’s why we had to conduct a soil test before its designing and fabrication.”

The official also claimed to have earmarked space for vendors relocated from the main pathways and provided water connection from the tank to the hydrants. “The market, once revamped, will be the first fire-compliant commercial complex in Delhi,” he said.

The official also said that provisions for ramps were made at three places in market after inviting an NGO for to give suggestions for making the market place disabled-friendly. Svayam, the NGO working for uplift of persons with disabilities, however, isn’t happy. Its director Subhash Chandra Vashishth said, “Contrary to its plan for ramps at eight of the 10 entrances, we saw ramps only a couple of locations when we visited the market in March. Also, the verandah outside shops is uneven and could hamper movement of the disabled.”

Vashishth added that Svayam filed complaints about the “irregularities in the project plan” with minister Puri, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and the chief commissioner for persons with disability. “The court has also taken cognizance of the matter and issued a show cause notice to DDA,” said Vashishth.

The market, constructed in the 1970s, was a popular shopping complex but lost out to the multiplexes and malls that came up in its vicinity. Neglected maintenance and decaying infrastructure led outlets of major brands to down shutters and migrate to the malls at Vasant Kunj and Saket. “In 2008, a newly formed traders’association took up the matter of the market’s restoration problems to the lieutenant governor, and finally Rs 10 crore was allocation for the project,” a shopkeeper disclosed.

Source: Times of India 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Continuous defiance of Accessibility Guidelines by Delhi's Civic Agencies bring them no harm

Dear Colleagues,

It is painful that in Delhi, the access is still a matter of advocacy, cajoling, recommendations despite a CPWD Manual of 1998, Chief Commissioner's guidelines of 2001 and National Building Code 2005. Today, most public buildings of the Government, Banks- whether public sector or private, schools - both private and public,  post offices, Pension offices, Dispensaries, ATMs, Bus stations, Pedestrian pathways, intersections,  markets, cinema halls, para transit vehicles, continue to remain inaccessible for persons with disabilities in clear breach of the legal mandate! 

Reason... no time frame in the law and no penalty for not ensuring accessibility and on top of it the tags like "within the limits of their economic capacity" that are found in the Disabilities Act of 1995 which otherwise can not be used given the huge sums lying with the authorities for the purpose.

All flyovers that have been created or are being created in the name of providing signal free arterial roads like inner ring road (Mahatma Gandhi Marg), outer ring road, make no provision for the pedestrians to cross over to the other side more particularly those provided at Dhaula Kuan Flyover, AIIMS Flyover & Mool Chand Flyover etc. The pedestrians including those with disabilities are forced to come in conflict with the moving traffic in absence of accessible pedestrian crossovers. Government's ever  road widening spree has made roads dangerous for pedestrians and it fails to address the congestion and pollution.

Most  pedestrian underpasses, foot-over bridges make no efforts to assimilate those living with reduced  mobility. Wherever, some relief is provided in terms of accessibility  it is usurped by parking mafia, encroachments and a bad civic sense. Is this the city or community do we want?

What we need today is deadlines and strict enforcement. Failures in achieving the deadline must meet a financial penalty on the responsible officials/ department. The guidelines on the Barrier Free Environment must be implemented by all departments and especially the civic agencies under whose domain the most public infrastructure is.

Our Social Welfare Minister has made an effort through her letter to all the departments of Delhi Government to ensure that guidelines are implemented properly but I see even here there is no deadline. The advisories don't work in the political system unless there is accountability for the continued defiance. 

It is the time that we no longer state "problems faced by persons with disabilities" as  reasons for providing accessibility. This must become a part of DNA of the Civil Agencies to plan and execute projects that are based on universal design. No more benefits in percentages that often seem to work counter productive. It has to be borne in mind that an accessible environment is beneficial and friendly to every body hence this is a requirement for every one and not just the disabled.

Here is the coverage from Times of India today:  Follow Advisory for Disabled: Walia

Follow Advisory for Disabled: Walia

Naziya Alvi Rahman / TNN / Feb 5, 2013

NEW DELHI: To make city roads and buildings disabled friendly, social welfare minister Kiran Walia has asked all government agencies involved in construction of roads and buildings to consult the manual ‘Planning a Barrier Free Environment’ compiled by the office of chief commissioner for persons with disabilities.

In a letter sent in January, Walia has also directed PWD, local bodies, DSIIDC etc to implement the recommendations in the existing buildings. “I am writing to you to bring to your notice the difficulties being faced by the disabled persons in accessing schools, banks, shopping complexes, Metro stations and ATMs,” stated the letter. “The concerned engineers could be given proper guidance for planning a barrier-free environment as per the recommendations in the manual, a copy of which has already been sent to you,” it added.

In the Disability Act 1995, the civic bodies have been directed to implement the measures suggested in the manual “within the limits of their economic capacity”.

Sources said Walia took up the issue after she came across a report highlighting plight of a boy who struggled for hours to take his disabled father from the entry point of a railway station to the platform. “I called several meetings and toured campuses and public buildings. We found that most public buildings lack disabled-friendly measures. Also while our buses and bus stops have been designed in disabled-friendly way, our pavements are not. Therefore, we have made an attempt to divert the attention of civic authorities towards city buildings, roads etc,” said Walia.

The social welfare department also directed the chief commissioner to ensure the implementation of the measures and follow it up regularly. The manual, which was compiled with the help of Indian Spinal Injuries Centre experts, has been out since 2001 but the city has hardly seen any implementation of its recommendations.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reality check of Accessiblity at Post Office: Lodi Road

Dear Friends,

Please refer to my earlier post - Post offices in Delhi are inaccessible but Department claims otherwise, incorporating media coverage on pathetic situation prevailing in the Post Offices of Delhi and the awareness level of the senior officials of the Department of Post on the Accessibility.

I had a reality check of accessibility status of the post office at Jor Bagh in the NDMC area which claims to be better off then most MCD controlled areas when it comes to accessibility in the public infrastructure.

The reality check /access audit  photos speak for themselves here:

Picture of the Lodi Road Post Office Signage
This Lodi Road Post Office is in a posh colony of South Delhi under
the New Delhi Municipal Council.

Picture of road side eatery blocking the pedestrian pathway
This protruding counter of this eatery on the pedestrian pathway
leading to the post office blocks the pedestrian movement 
Photo showing absence of kerb ramp on the pedestrian pathway leading to post office
The pedestrian pathway leading to the Post Office
doesn't have a kerb ramp or kerb cut. 

Photo showing decked up entrance with offers of 7% off on gold coins but access blocked by barriers
The Gate at the post office fails to welcome me. The barriers
and the huge kerb stare at me!

photo showing blocked access
These barriers purportedly placed to stop entry of vehicles also act
as barrier to my independent mobility, thereby nullifying the benefits
of the ramps provided!

photo showing ramp without handrails
From the entrance two slope ramps like a U are provided but
with no handrails or signage!

Ramp ends with a thud without and tactile indication. The ramp
edge is a trip hazard on both ends.

Similarly the other side of the ramp has no handrails  and
ends with an threshold which is a trip hazard.

Photo showing stepped entry to post office, high counters and use of granite flooring which is slippery
Entrance 1 is stepped and granite has been used in the post office
which makes it slippery and inaccessible to the visitors with disabilities.

Entrance 2 is also stepped with a similar pattern. The counter height
on both sides is inaccessible to those with disabilities and
caters to only standing persons.
When the reality check at the prominent areas under NDMC is so alarming what do we expect of the other post offices in Delhi, especially the ones in the areas served by MCD where the civil amenities are even more pathetic. This is in gross violation of the prevalent norms of barrier free environment.

Another reality check coming week in an area served by MCD !

SC Vashishth