Equal Opportunity Cell is planning to make 150 Delhi University buildings disabled-friendly. So far, 25 per cent of these buildings have adopted disabled friendly measures like tactile paths, ramps, lifts and signage
Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) established by the University of Delhi in 2006, is going all out to ensure that the physically challenged students of Delhi University face no difficulty while pursuing their studies. Speaking to DT, Prof Ramakant Agnihotri, founder and coordinator of the EOC, said, “The prime objective of the EOC is to bring these students at par with other students by providing them with barrier free access to all buildings of colleges and departments and offices. With this objective in mind, an access audit of about 150 buildings of Delhi University was carried out by a professional agency to ensure that the college buildings are disabled-friendly.” These buildings should have straight and tactile paths, ramps, accessible toilets, lifts, signage and sign boards so that disabled students could go to any department or office of the Delhi University.
Prof Ramakant said, “About 25 per cent of colleges have implemented these norms so far.” These are Lady Shri Ram College for Women, SRCC, Janaki Devi Mahavidyalaya, Gargi College, Khalsa College and Kamla Nehru College. Komal Kamra, one of the founder members of the EOC and, associate lecturer in Khalsa College, informed, “It took us a year to get the draft policy passed, which made it mandatory for all the colleges of the Delhi University to make its building, departments and offices disabled-friendly. The work on its implementation was started in a phased manner.”
Kamra informed that after the access audit, the funds were released to the colleges by the Delhi University for its necessary implementation. The same access audit team visited all the colleges to assess the implementation status. She said, “Most of the colleges are now having disabled-friendly toilets and ramps but more needs to be done on this front. In the second phase, it would be explored as to how to interconnect the college buildings and to bring the physically challenged students to the college.” She informed that plan is afoot to buy small vehicles for North and South campus colleges so that small distances could be covered by the disabled students. EOC has one big bus in North Campus which brings students from Sewa Kutir and nearby Metro station. To make walking safer for students with disability, a dedicated pathway is being constructed by the EOC on both sides of the North Campus roads. The funds are being provided by the Delhi University.
Nisha Singh, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) said, “EOC is now in touch with schools and has obtained a list of physically challenged students studying in class XI and XII. EOC would contact their parents and know about their difficulties in sending them for higher education.” And if need be, “EOC would extend financial and other help to these students to facilitate their admission in the higher education,” she added. Nisha further said that a number of short-term courses for improving skills are also being offered to these students.
Deepak Pental, Vice Chancellor (VC) of Delhi University, informed us that an additional Rs 2 crore have been released to each college and, “these funds could be utilised for making the buildings disabledfriendly, for the upkeep of drinking water and toilet facilities etc,” he said. Realising the difficulties being faced by these students while commuting to their colleges, Pental said, “Plan is afoot to construct two more hostels in the campus area. Physically challenged students should be given first priority in the hostels. If approval comes from the government these hostels may be ready in two years time.” Interestingly, despite his active support for EOC efforts, the office of the VC remains inaccessible to the physically challenged!
Author: Arun Shrivastava Times News Network
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