20 February 2019
An orientation programme for NSS volunteers was held here today, who would be conducting an audit of city on various facets for making city disabled friendly. The programme was held to apprise them of the various places which need to be surveyed and also to find out if the various disabled-friendly places in city were actually barrier-free or not.
Around 700 NSS Volunteers from 25 colleges along with their Program Officers were a part of this program.
In the orientation, the NSS volunteers were told about five cities in the world which are the best cities in terms of accessibility. These cities are Berlin, Barcelona, Ljubljana, Sydney and San Diego.
Prof BS Chavan the Director Principal-GMCH-32 and Director-GRIID during the orientation highlighted the how those five cities have taken measures in terms of accessibility for the disabled. He also shared the parameters on which they have been evaluated. Further, he added that Chandigarh has a potential to become the first disabled friendly city in India.
Prof. Chavan informed how the audit is being carried out in four phases, first one which was on February 14 when places were identified. Second phase was orientation of volunteers today while the audit will be carried out from February 22 to 26 and the reports will be submitted by February 28.
Prof. Chavan shared Chandigarh is going to be the first city in the world which is carrying out audit considering other disabilities also, which include hearing, vision etc.
Further, he added that without active participation of common man of the city, this audit will not be effective. He urged people of the city to share their views on this to ensure accessibility. He shared that Ms Nazli is the coordinator and Dr Wasim Ahmad is the supervisor for training and audit, who can be contacted if there is any area left without audit.
Dr. Priti Arun, Joint Director-GRIID, spoke about how GRIID it is catering to the needs of persons with various disabilities. Ms Nazli Course Coordinator-GRIID and convener of this program gave brief presentation on how to go about while filling up the specially designed performa for Audit.
Dr. Wasim Ahmad, Assistant Professor-GRIID, spoke on implementation of Audit. He gave brief presentation clarifying different components of infrastructures where audit is going to be carried out.
The volunteers would be moving around city and would also check the existing disabled-friendly initiatives whether they are barrier-free or not. They would themselves use wheelchairs and have first-hand account of accessing places being disabled.
The idea of making Chandigarh accessible and disabled friendly city was shared by Prof BS Chavan with UT Administrator VP Singh Badnore during his visit to GRIID in the month of September last year. The Administrator was keen to make Chandigarh first disabled Friendly City in India and bring it on the world map. In this regard, the Administration had constituted a high-powered state level committee to ensure implementation.
Series of meetings were conducted and the first meeting was conducted on 27thNovember last year by the Principal Secretary cum Secretary Medical Education and Research Arun Kumar Gupta where all top officials of UT Administration and Municipal Corporation were present. It was planned to audit Chandigarh for making barrier free.
A subcommittee was also constituted on the direction of the Principal Secretary Arun Kumar Gupta. On January 25, a meeting was held where Dr. Bikram Rana State Liaison Officer-NSS, Chandigarh was invited. Dr. Rana ensured in the meeting that 600 NSS Volunteer will take active part in this program.