Friday, November 06, 2009

Path of these special people paved with dangers

Path of these special people paved with dangers

As they slowly head towards the therapy centre and school in Lingarajapuram, all they ask BBMP is a 'disabled-friendly' road

Shwetha S. Bangalore



The poor condition of Hutchins Road running under the Lingarajapuram flyover in Bangalore East is making the commute painful and nightmarish for over 700 physically challenged adults and children who visit a centre for therapy and school.
The Association of People with Disability, a NGO, which runs them along Hutchins Road, has been serving them for over 50 years. It says that after the construction of the flyover about three years ago, the road remains completely ignored. When DNA visited the spot to check this, it found that the pavements along the road had been dug up making it difficult for pedestrians to walk on. And the road under the flyover was full of potholes.
The association says that special people who visit them have to travel at least two kilometres every day to avoid this particular stretch.
"Hundreds of such people come here regularly to undergo different therapies. We also run a school up to seventh grade for special children. But the biggest problem is that many who come to the centre are the residents of this area. So they either walk with the help of canes or crutches or they rely on their wheel chairs to commute from their houses to our centre. For them, it's a difficult trip every day as the main approach road under the Lingarajapuram flyover is in a bad shape. Not all come on vehicles, so those who come on their own are facing problems," said KN Gopinath, president of the association.
"None of the main roads here are 'disabled-friendly'. The main road, which connects the institution, is completely dug up. It is not even usable by normal people. Only to avoid this particular road, the disabled painfully commute an additional two kilometres. There is a railway track just beside the institution, which is a risk to cross. There is no supervisor on the railway track to monitor the movement of trains and the public. We requested the railway department to make a small 'disabled-friendly' pathway near the railway track. Until now, nothing has been done," Gopinath said.
The association members had also requested the railway officials to deploy security personnel to keep a watch on the movement of trains and public as there is no gate near the railway track.
"Last year in April, we had sent a letter to the BBMP commissioner and executive engineer highlighting this problem. But till now, no civic official has visited the spot or our office. For three years, we kept sending letters to the BBMP. So far, we have not received a single reply from them," they said.
"Most of the special visitors to the therapy centre have visual or hearing problems. We requested the traffic police to put up at least some sign boards on that stretch for the hearing and physically impaired so it will be really helpful for them to follow the traffic rules, especially while crossing.
Even this request has been ignored," they said.
"I reside near Lingarajapuram. I normally come to the centre on my wheel chair as my house is just one kilometre away. It is difficult for me to come on the main road as the road is full of pits. And there are no pavements for us to use as the area has been dug up. One day, I fell from my chair and got hurt. Now I have to take a different route through a residential area on 7th Cross of Hutchins Road. Of course, that means travelling an additional 1km. The government must help us," said M Manikanta, who has paralytic polio.
"I have a four-year-old daughter who has polio. I stay a kilometre away from the institution but avoid the main road under the flyover as it is in a very bad state. It is difficult for me to take her on the wheel chair on that particular road," said Sumaiya Yasmeen, a visitor.

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