Salcete panchayat ghars still not disabled-friendly

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September 8, 2016 at 10:26 am #6793

The village panchayats in Salcete taluka have miserably failed to make their buildings disabled-friendly. Almost 75 per cent of the panchayat ghars in the taluka do not have ramps for the disabled while only seven panchayats have taken steps to make their buildings more accessible to the disabled people.

The state government has failed to honour its own submission made to the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court to make public buildings accessible to the disabled by 2008. Seven years on, village panchayats still have not made provisions to make their buildings accessible to the disabled.

In September 2015, ‘The Navhind Times’ had reported that village panchayat buildings had not been disabled-friendly. However, even after a year little has been done in this front.

As per the 2011 Census, there are 33,002 disabled people in the state.

The government could face contempt of court as the Disability Rights Association of Goa issued a fresh deadline for honouring the submission on making all public buildings disabled-friendly.

This reporter visited several village panchayats in Salcete to check whether the submission to the HC has been honoured. Only the newly-constructed block of Velim panchayat and panchayats of Ambelim, Orlim and Sao Jose De Areal have put up ramps for the disabled. Most of the other panchayat buildings have failed to put up access ramps for the senior citizens and the disabled.

The office of the Benaulim village panchayat, which had earlier been functioning on the first floor of the building, has now been moved to the ground floor. However, concerns of the disabled have not been addressed.

Similarly, village panchayats of Dramapur-Sirlim, Telaulim, Curtorim, Guirdolim, Chandor, Paroda, Carmona and Colva are yet to initiate steps to make provisions on accessibility for the disabled.

Ironically, several panchayat buildings which were constructed after 2008 also failed to provide any ramps for the disabled. The Navelim panchayat has moved a proposal to the RDA for installing a lift to the first floor.

The village panchayats of Macazana, Aquem-Baixo, Davorlim-Rumdamol, Chinchinim, Assolna, Nuvem and Varca are all housed on the first floor of the buildings while the shops below are rented out to house government offices and private business establishments.

Navelim sarpanch Frank Fernandes said that they have sent a proposal to the government through the RDA.

However, if there is a delay from the government side then the panchayat will consider installing the lift by utilising its own funds.

“We are following up with the department, but there has been delay,” Fernandes said.

Sources in the panchayat directorate said that works to construct new buildings to house village panchayats of Sarzora, Davorlim and Cavelossim have been in various phases and attention would be given to ensure that the concerns of the disabled are addressed.

Panchayats of Assolna and Chinchinim will have new buildings, and steps would have to be taken to ensure that the buildings are made disabled-friendly, the sources said.

Source/Reference: Navhind Times, “Salcete panchayat ghars still not disabled-friendly

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