Construct disabled-friendly infrastructure: MoFAGA

Kathmandu, September 23

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has issued a circular to all local levels, directing them to strictly enforce the existing building code to ensure construction of disabled-friendly physical infrastructures.

Development Assistance Coordination Committee under the MoFAGA issued the circular to this effect yesterday in response to a letter from the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, which expressed concern about poor implementation of the building code by the concerned agencies.

Accessible Physical Structure and Communication Service Directive for Persons with Disabilities-2013 has made a provision for arrangement of appropriate ramp, door, window, tactile block and Braille in public physical structures like government offices, schools, universities, hospitals, health care facilities, religious spaces, workplace, public road, sidewalk, passenger waiting place, parking lanes, recreational places, playground, conference hall, cinema hall and business complexes, residential buildings, hotel and restaurant, ATM services in a manner that they are accessible to persons with disabilities.

The MoWCSS, in its letter, had reminded the MoFAGA about the provisions provided for in Article 42 (3) of the constitution, which states that ‘people with physical impairment shall  have the right to a dignified way of life and equal access to social services and facilities, along with their diversity identity’.

“Despite the legal provisions regarding the disabled-friendly infrastructures and the duty and responsibility of the concerned authorities to fully implement the laws, municipalities and rural municipalities have yet to take these issues into consideration while granting approval to design and drawings. Even the government-funded buildings and other infrastructures constructed or being constructed are not disabled-friendly,” the MoWCSS said.

Keeping in mind the concerns of the MoWCSS, the MoFAGA urged the local levels to implement building code to address the difficulties faced by disabled persons. “Local levels should not pass the blueprint of any house or building which is not disabled-friendly,” the MoFAGA told all municipalities and rural municipalities.

Earlier too, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers had instructed the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to make initial drawing and design of roads compatible with disabled people’s mobility needs. According to the 2011 census, about two per cent (513,321) of the total population of the country is living with one or the other kind of disability.