Smart City Mission Needs To Be Disabled-Friendly: Javed Abidi

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27 March 2017

Tapan Das

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Bhubanesawar: International philanthropic organisation Disabled People’s International (DPI) on Monday urged the Central and the State Governments to ensure the convenience of the disabled people while planning the smart cities.

Addressing a press conference here, DPI Chairperson Javed Abidi said, “Authorities need to acknowledge hat the disabled population of our country also have equal rights. We have a simple message for our policy makers. Whenever our cities are developed as smart cities, there should be of proper communication facilities for the disabled. Our buildings, public places and public transport networks need to be accessible for the disabled.”

Abibi also hailed the Central Government’s Accessible India Campaign but expressed his disappointment as there is lack of provisions for the disabled population in the smart city programme.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 15% of the world's population lives with some form of disability. This large population, which is already marginalised, is at risk of being further excluded if accessibility and inclusion are not considered while designing the smart facilities and services.

Smart Cities Mission, the flagship programme launched by Government of India in 2015, embarks upon creating a sustainable and an inclusive development through the provision of core infrastructure and a decent quality of life for 100 selected cities.

The mission complained that there is little mention of disability in the overall process. Cities like Udaipur have incorporated the features for disability whereas cities like Jabalpur find no mention for the disabled population.

While several of the city proposals talk about disabled friendly pathway design or barrier free walkways, almost all of them have neglected the access to IT enabled solutions like e-governance and citizen services.

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Javed Abidi, Chairperson, Disabled People’s International (DPI)