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Police stations daunting for disabled people




Vadodara City (Gujarat) based RTI activist Sursingh Solanki, who has been working to make a barrier-free society for the disabled, received vague replies from the city police department when he sought information about their plan to install ramps at police stations.


In the reply to an earlier RTI, the department had stated that none of the 18 police stations in the city included a ramp and other provisions mentioned under the General Development Control Regulations (GDCR) for public buildings.


Solanki filed a RTI to know what plans the department had proposed to revamp the police stations. Replying to the RTI the police department gave a vague reply assuring to take action immediately.


"In the reply, they mentioned no clear plans of making the structural changes in the police stations. Hoping for a better response, I decided to take up the issue with senior officials in the department," Solanki said.


Solanki, who is also disabled, met with a senior police official. "The officer was sympathetic and reviewed the RTI reply himself. He assured that the work to make police stations barrier free will start immediately," he added.


Solanki was promised that all police stations in the city will have proper ramps by the end on 2016.


The police department had sent a letter to the Gujarat Rajya Police Station Aavas Nigam asking them to propose changes in the police stations. A copy of the letter was also sent to Solanki by the police department.


However, when Solanki filed a second RTI asking a report on the progress of the project the answer was equally vague. This was after the senior police official had instructed the construction department to start making police stations barrier free.


"The reply that was given for the second RTI also did not give a particular time frame. But they had identified 11 police stations that could not be revamped to include structural changes. The reply states that work of constructing a ramp will start on Fatehgunj, Karelibaug, Wadi, City, Tandalja, Gotri and Gorwa police stations as and when there are funds allotted," Solanki said.


Solanki had filed a series of RTIs at various departments to discover how many public buildings in the city were barrier-free for the disabled.


"I filed the RTIs as a part of my effort to find out which public offices and institutions comply to the provisions of Persons with Disability (PwD) Act, 1995. The senior officials of the police department were supportive but there is no work being done at the ground level," Solanki added.

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