Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Disabled cricket lovers want equal access to Kotla

TIMES OF INDIA. Manash Pratim Gohain, TNN | May 12, 2015, 02.38AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Court of Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, national capital territory of Delhi, has directed the chief administrator of Delhi and District Cricket Association to respond to a representation stating that the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium "has huge steps without side railings. There is no separate queue for spectators with disability. There is no reserved parking or reserved seat, and even toilets are not disabled-friendly".

The petitioner requests CCPD to instruct DDCA to make Kotla accessible to spectators with disabilities within one year, before the T20 World Cup and IPL 2016 are hosted there. He also suggests some measures to make the stadium barrier-free.

In his petition to CCPD on April 29, activist Dr Satendra Singh, who is coordinator, enabling unit, at University College of Medical Science, Delhi University, has said that "the Feroz Shah Kotla cricket stadium in Delhi is not accessible to people with disabilities, so we, our families and friends cannot enjoy equal access to entertainment, recreation, and leisure. I am unable to watch IPL T20 or other matches scheduled at this venue".

Article 30 of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) puts onus on states to enable disabled to participate on an equal basis with others in recreation, leisure and sporting activities. "The legal requirements under PWD Act 1995 and, more importantly, obligation under ratification of UNCRPD by India must be taken account by DDCA in making reasonable adjustment to physical barriers and services in existing and new stadia," Singh said.

Singh has suggested reserved seats for disabled, wheelchair-accessible seats, companion seats and reserved accessible parking close to the entrance gate. A separate exit for disabled spectators is a good idea. The path to the stadium and seat should be made in such a way that even a wheelchair user can move independently. All routes should be level or have the shallowest possible gradient.

There must be accessible toilets, lift to reach all vertical levels and ramped access, and a dedicated officer to look into any problem a spectator with disability may have during the match. The contact number of this person should be present on all tickets reserved for spectators with disabilities, Singh says.


No national data on HIV/AIDS among disabled, reveals RTI

I earlier shared my article published in RHiME highlighting people with disabilities living with HIV/AIDS as the missing voices in National AIDS response. I backed it up with RTI's and than complained to the Court of Commissioner, Disabilities GNCTD. The Delhi State AIDS Control Society (DSACS) took my suggestions in positive light and now has written to NACO. The later, however, doesn't have any national data on people with disabilities living with HIV/AIDS.

No national data on HIV/AIDS among differently-abled, reveals RTI

The Capital has nine antiretroviral treatment centres, but none of them has information on the alternate format for blind or sign language interpreters for deaf people, who are living with HIV.

This is as per a Right to Information reply obtained by disability rights activist Satendra Singh from University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital, Delhi.

Stating that persons with disabilities are the missing voices in India’s national AIDS response, the physician noted that in the first report of its kind, UNAIDS Gap report 2014 had identified 12 populations at higher risk of HIV (of which people with physical disability is one) and emphasised covering these to close the gap.

This Gap report estimates that India has the third largest number of people living with HIV in the world and accounts for about 4 out of 10 people living with HIV in the region.

“The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in its response to an RTI had noted that they do not have any national data on HIV/AIDS prevalence among people with disabilities,’’ said Dr. Singh.
He added that the NACO annual report of 2013-14 too does not feature a single word with ‘disability’ or ‘persons with disabilities’. Disability is also not mentioned in the HIV/AIDS (Prevention & Control) Bill 2014 as introduced in the Rajya Sabha.

“The Delhi State AIDS Control Society (DSACS) has accepted the lacunae and responded stating that suggestions have been conveyed to NACO to include people with disabilities living with HIV in national response, convert all info on sexual and reproductive services AIDS/HIV in accessible format, prevalence among disabled to be included in next survey, disability questions to be used in existing survey,” said Dr. Singh.

“We have also suggested that State Commissioner of Disabilities be part of State AIDS Control & Prevention Societies. Also, the Medical Council of India has written to include disability studies to be part of the MBBS curriculum and Delhi Medical Council to issue instructions to Hospitals and Clinics to be disabled friendly,” he added.

People living with disability (PWD) are world’s largest minority and hence part of every social group included as vulnerable and risk group in UNAIDS Gap report.

“There is also low awareness of HIV among PWDs. The 2007 survey done in rural areas of India revealed the fact that one-fifth of people interviewed had never heard of HIV and is a cause for great concern. People with mental or developmental disabilities generally lack the ability to develop the social skills to recognise predatory behaviour and avoid vulnerable situation. The situation is same for wheelchair users isolated in homes and restricted from communicating with society,” noted Dr. Singh.

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