The federal government has drafted the 'Guideline on Accessible System for Persons with Disabilities, 2021' to ensure the accessibility of differently-abled persons to all facilities, including private and public buildings, health, education and employment services.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens said the draft guideline was posted on its website, seeking valuable suggestions and feedback from stakeholders, experts and the public.

The guideline proposes that public buildings, places and roads shall be made accessible to persons with disabilities, with no hindrance and discrimination to enable them enjoy available services and facilities.

The guideline requires authorities to build public buildings, their premises, entrances, parking lots, waiting sheds, toilets, passages, lifts, rooms, stairs, dining hall, canteen, training hall, service counters, among others accessible to wheelchair users, crutch users, visually-impaired persons, persons with hearing problems, persons of short stature and persons with multiple disabilities.

"Any building of two or more storeys that are open to public shall be compulsorily fitted with an accessible lift," it says. As per the guideline, private housing companies shall also be obliged to comply with the provisions set down. Similarly, the guideline says that even families shall construct their houses buildings in a way to ensure easy access and mobility of their members, who are persons with disabilities or may be disabled at any point of their life due to accident or other ailments.

Large hotels, restaurants, resorts, banquet halls, party palaces, lodges, their entrance, parking lots, toilets, service counters, dining hall, meeting hall, reception room, bedrooms, swimming pool, among others, shall be accessible to persons with disabilities and wheelchair users. Even small hotels and restaurants shall ensure that all facilities on the ground floor are accessible to persons with disabilities.

The provisions set forth in the guideline shall be applicable in the case of all facilities of schools, colleges and universities. "Temples, shrines, monasteries, churches, community buildings, tourist hubs, playground and public parking lots shall have ramps and be accessible to persons with disabilities. Similarly, the guideline stipulates a provision of roads and pavements accessible to persons with all kinds of disabilities, with no potholes and obstructions. "Public vehicles shall also make arrangements of a platform to be used for pick-up and drops at venues for persons with disabilities for their utmost safety," it reads.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 30 2021, of The Himalayan Times.