News Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com
HC pulls up south Delhi civic body over disability audit
News Source/Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

NEW DELHI: South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) must carry out its social disability audit in Vasant Vihar area in a “proper manner” and its officials should be able to move in wheelchairs “independently” and without assistance to check if the footpaths are usable, the Delhi high court told the civic body on Monday.

The court was hearing a matter related to its November 15, 2021 order which said that to ensure the usability of the footpaths, SDMC engineers will traverse the entire colony’s footpaths on a wheelchair unaided.

Anyone living in the city knows that most streets and pavements are not wheelchair friendly. In fact, little effort has been made in this direction. Hopefully with the high court taking up the matter, concerned authorities will pay attention to rectifying the issue.

The court said every citizen had the right to move around in the area created by the State. Taking note of the exercise being carried out with assistance and not independently as per its orders, Justice Najmi Waziri asked why the SDMC officials were not moving independently on wheelchairs.

“When they moved around in wheelchairs, did they find it difficult?” the courtasked the SDMC counsel. When the counsel replied no, the HC asked how that was possible, considering the uneven pavements.

The court further asked why ramps outside several houses were not built in accordance with SDMC standards and directed the authorities to remove them.

“If wheelchair-bound people have to move like this, then SDMC shall have todepute one official each for every such person in thecolony so that they can move on these footpaths, whichare not properly constructed,” it remarked.

The court also asked Delhi Police to ensure that cars are not parked on footpaths. The sub-inspector present in court assured that the police will take the necessary steps in this regard.

During the hearing, the Delhi government counsel informed the court that the Public Works Department (PWD) has been regularly watering and washing trees from Modi Mill to the airport on Outer Ring Road and the Vasant Vihar residential area. He said 1,688 out of 1,793 trees in Vasant Vihar havebeen de-concretised andsought two weeks for theremaining trees.

The court appreciated the efforts of the authorities, including SDMC, PWD and Delhi Police, in the matter relating to de-concretisation of trees and removing cars parked on footpaths.

“It is heartening to see that all departments have geared up and much progress has been done,” it said.

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News Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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