Saturday, May 31, 2008

BIA toilets not user-friendly for physically challenged

BIA toilets not user-friendly for physically challenged

Staff Reporter

Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has received a complaint

— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

To be streamlined: A view of Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahalli near Bangalore.

Bangalore: After encountering problems related to automated parking lot, aerobridges and ground-handling facilities, the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is now facing a new one — of toilets that are not user-friendly to the physically challenged.

The Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has received a complaint against the BIA pointing out that the toilets for the physically-challenged, particularly at the arrival lounge, do not meet the prescribed standards.
Design defect

C. Mahesh, a physically-challenged person who is the Advocacy Coordinator, CBR Forum, said he visited the new airport on May 25 and was shocked to see the way the door opened, the way the grab-bars were designed and fitted, and other fittings in the toilet situated in the arrival lounge. “The design of the toilets does no meet any national or international standards prescribed for barrier-free access for persons who are physically-challenged,” the complainant stated. Mr. Mahesh told The Hindu that the grab-bar in the toilet blocks the wash basin, the door knob was round in shape and the physically-challenged might not be able to turn it, and there was not enough space for wheelchair movement inside the toilet. Moreover, there was no emergency alarm facility, which was essential for a such persons in case of emergency, he added. He said the Government should immediately hold access audit to check whether the airport had access for all and barrier-free access for the physically-challenged. The complainant said: “The authorities at the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) have failed to adopt the prescribed standards even after they had assured that they would adopt the highest international standards for access for all and persons who are variously challenged when the requirements were brought to their notice about a year ago when the construction was in progress.” He requested the commissioner to direct the BIAL to redesign the toilets as per the standards.

When contacted, Das. Suryavanshi, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, said that the commission was seeking an explanation from the authorities concerned.


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