Advisor Ladakh emphasises on action plan for accessibility to Persons with Disabilities

LEH, December 29: Advisor to Hon’ble Lt. Governor UT Ladakh, Umang Narula chaired a meeting to review the action plans for meeting the accessibility standards notified by the Government of India in pursuance of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Secretary, Social & Tribal Welfare Department, Padma Angmo gave a detailed presentation on the crucial sections of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 and the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), of the Department of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice wherein the vision for creating a barrier-free environment for the independent, safe and dignified living of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) was discussed. She briefed about the three important verticals under this scheme which are: Building Environment Accessibility, Transportation System Accessibility, and Information and Communication Eco-System Accessibility.

The role of Departments of School Education, Housing and Urban Development, Youth and Sports, Skill Development, Rural, Labour and Employment, Health, Police and Rural Development for providing equal opportunities in education, sports, employment, security and recreational activities were discussed in detail. Secretary SWD also briefed about the Unique Disability Identity Card (UDID) for PwDs, which is currently being issued to all PwDs.

The Advisor instructed that persons with disabilities and their families should be made aware of the benefits of the card so that they grasp its importance and apply for the same. He emphasised the importance of surveys for updated data and directed the concerned officials to identify children and the type and degree of disability so that crucial medical help and requisite support can be provided.

He also said that beneficiaries needing prosthetics and other aids should also be identified. Advisor also pointed out that the existing ramps in schools and public buildings need to be as per the prescribed accessibility standard. He instructed that local NGOs be involved in the process of accessibility audit of public buildings.

Earlier, while talking about the steps taken for making education accessible, Commissioner Secretary, Ajeet Kumar Sahu briefed about the shortage of special teachers and sign language interpreters for PwDs. He further informed about the arrangements made for a three-month certificate course for the special teachers in Ladakh as directed by the Supreme Court.

Secretary IT, Saugat Biswas stated that the websites of UT and District Administration hosted by NIC meet the specified accessibility standards (GIGW) and flagged the need for training of all the officials on basic sign language.

Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs, Ravinder Kumar stated that sports facilities in Ladakh shall be made accessible for persons with disabilities and initiatives shall be taken up to encourage the participation of PwDs in sports activities.

Briefing about the initiatives taken up by the district administration, Deputy Commissioner, Leh, Shrikant Suse informed that so far 200 UDID cards have been distributed in the district and the remaining will be completed by March 2022. DC Leh also apprised the Advisor that a joint committee has been constituted to audit the public buildings in the district.

Deputy Commissioner, Kargil, Santosh Sukhdev gave the status of developments in Kargil on the key points of the Accessible India Campaign. He informed that more than 400 UDIDs have been issued covering 25% of the target beneficiaries and 518 schools have installed ramps.

The meeting was attended by the Addl Director General of Police, Administrative Secretaries and Deputy Commissioners.