paving way for social inclusion

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1. 02 |S U N DAY H I N D U STA N T I M E S , M U M B A Imetro O C TO B E R 2 3 , 2 0 1 1( )quotemartialServices have been resumed as the few agitating drivers, have called offthe strike. The entire fleet of 2,000 cabs will be back on roads.RAJESH PURI, CEO Meru Cabs, on the drivers calling off the strike 2 7BER 8 BER 1 BER 1OCTOOCTOOCTOht CAMPAIGN facebook campaignJOIN HTS CAMPAIGNTO RECLAIM THE ontwitterfight for our CITYS FOOTPATHSVisit our Facebook page, Tweet yourFOOTPATHS What should the BMC do to make the city moreFight For Our Footpaths, thoughts using thepost a comment, share your pedestrian-friendly?hashtag Email your thoughts at experiences, and be part of the HT campaign. #fight4footpathsPaving way for inclusive society CHANGE NEEDED Most footpaths in the city are not easily accessible to the physically challenged, visually impaired, and senior citizens; to become a world-class metro, Mumbai needs to become more disabled- and child-friendly, say residents sundayspecialPankti Mehta Meant to help, they are now impediments pankti.mehta@hindustantimes.comIts hard enough being an able-bodiedpedestrian in Mumbai, with pavementscrumbling or altogether missing, paver BREACH MAHIMblocks laid unevenly and jutting out CANDYunexpectedly, and hawkers, shanties Ketan Kothari has diffi-and parked vehicles forming obstruc-Parents are afraid to letculty navigating thetions at regular intervals.their children walk onfootpath. Now imagine trying to navigate thesefootpaths. HEMANT PADALKAR/ HTfootpaths when youre in a wheelchairor cannot see. Imagine trying to get onand off and on again as an arthritic sen-ior citizen. Imagine your worry as aparent of schoolgoing children walkingto class every day. Its traumatic, if not impossible, forthose with special needs to walk onMumbais footpaths, say experts. All the problems faced by able-bod-ied people on our pavements naturallybecome magnified, says SamTaraporevala, associate professor of soci-ology and director of the XaviersResource Centre for the VisuallyChallenged (XRCVC), who is visually-impaired himself. Accessibility is a basicrequirement, and it shouldnt difficult toCHILDREN | RAKHI SHIGWAN (9)VISUALLY IMPAIRED | KETAN KOTHARI (43)implement slight changes in design and Pravin Shingwan, a construc- wealthy family, so Rakhi walks that nobody gets hit by the traf-Regional programme develop-he says. It would help to havewalk. The cane also cannotmaintenance to make the end-to-end tion worker who lives in Breachto school every day, with thefic.ment advisor at SightSavers, a slope at either end instead. always tell Kothari when tilesexperience more comfortable.Candy, says he cannot let hischildren of domestic help fromFor Pravin and his wife, theKetan Kothari which promotes More importantly, though, therehave come loose, so he and other Most pavements, for instance, do notnine-year-old daughter Rakhi the plush buildings nearby.state of the pavements is an end-inclusion for the blind, lives inare all sorts of obstacles in your visually impaired people arehave the gradual incline at either end walk alone to the store down There are fruit and veg-less source of stress. Mahim and finds it very diffi- line of walking protruding prone to trip. Dumpsters andto make access easier, especially for thethe road because the pavementetable shops on the footpath, It would really help to have cult to navigate footpaths withobjects such as trees plantedhawkers are also a threat.physically challenged and visually hasbeencompletelyand the little space left is taken a wide footpath that was safehis cane.right in the middle, or ditchesWhile Kothari hasnt beenimpaired. This is not only essential forencroached upon by hawkers,by people buying things from for children to walk or run on, Firstly, they are often toofrom missing paver blocks. The seriously injured by footpaths,the disadvantaged, but also for people forcing pedestrians onto the them, says Rakhi. Even whenwithout the stress of what might high, and if your cane misses thecane cannot always detect these, he is always afraid that he willwith infants in strollers and for chil-busy street. we walk to school, the older stu-happen to them every day, sayschange in depth, you can fall andleaving blind people to risk be. The chances are high, hedren, says Sanjeeta Joshi, member of The Shigwans are not adents have to hold our hands soPravin.injure yourself quite terribly, bumps and injuries as they says.managing committee at ConsumerGuidance Society of India. Instead, oldpeople with knee problems are forcedto struggle on and off and on and off. Elsewhere, a lack of routine mainte-nance leaves paver tiles loose and KandivliBorivliuneven. Padma Rao, a senior citizenwho walks with the help of a stick, said, Mayank Rokadia Senior citizens HK andIts uneven, and my walking stick gets wants footpaths to have Padma Rao face problemsstuck between the loose tiles.inclines to make it easierwhile walking on According to Vidyadhar Date, pedes-for wheelchairs. uneven footpaths.trian rights advocate and author of TrafficPRASAD GORI/ HTin the Era of Climate Change. Walking,Cycling, Public Transport Need Priority,Mumbai needs a cultural change towardsgreater inclusion via infrastructure. European and American cities arevery friendly to the disabled. Mumbai,like many other Indian cities, has yet tocatch up. Cities should first be made child-friendly, and then everything else will fol-low. In New York, for example, you aregiven compensation if you trip on a pave-ment and injure yourself. BMC officials declined to comment. I understand that pavements havebecome a nuisance, but in the areaswhere the roads are maintained by theMMRDA, such as JP road in Andheri PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED | MAYANK ROKADIA (48) SENIOR CITIZENS | HK RAO (76)and the Andheri-Ghatkopar Link Road,this is mainly due to the ongoing MetroEven with a fairly advancedbuilt to climb up steps. I needmanoeuvring himself on unevenHK Rao, a 76-year-old Borivlifootpath, you have to keep way past garbage bins, hawk-work. Once the project is completed, motorised wheelchair, comput-someone to lift the wheelchair ground, with ditches and miss- resident and consultant at the climbing up and down, whichers and parked cars strewnwe will address all the issues, said Diliper hardware professional onto the pavement every time,ing paver blocks, is very difficult. Indian Merchants Chamber, not only slows down and tiresacross the middle of the pave-Kawatkar, spokesperson for the Mayank Rokadia, 48, cannot get which defeats the purpose of hav- The wheels get stuck inoften needs to walk the 100someone of my age, but is very ment. It takes a lot of effort toMMRDA. Post March-2012, when most around by himself in Mumbai. ing a machine that can help me uneven areas where the paver metres from his building to thedifficult on the knees. navigate these obstacles andof the civil work on these roads is Its frustrating, because a sim- achieve mobility outdoors.tiles have come loose. There are bus stop to commute, but theThe footpath is uneven too, sometimes it is just easier toexpected to be complete, we will include ple change in the design of theRokadia wishes the pave- also several roads with pave-short walk always leaves him which is worrying because youwalk on the main road, he says.slopes to make these pavements suit- footpaths would enable peoplements had slight inclines. At ment on only one side of the with aching knees. have to watch every step so that Of course, I cant move fast andable for those using wheelchairs and like me to be self-reliant, for theleast the newer ones shouldroad, so if I cross, Im leftThe steps here are unnec- you dont trip and fall, says Rao. I sometimes cant hear proper-we will also ensure that we use the best mostpart,hesays.have that feature, he says. maneouvering down the street essarily high, he says. And In just 100 metres, the sen-ly, so it is very frightening beingquality material, as per the specifica-Wheelchairs and prams, are notHe also complains that and that is quite scary.since its not one continuousior citizen also has to wend his at the mercy of the traffic.tions laid down by the PWD norms.Docs give baby with hole in diaphragm chance to live Drunk GRP copSonal Shukla maker.However, a group of special-after birth. One in 2,000 to 3,000babies are born with this defect THE CASEfires in local train ists attached to Grace Maternity and generally doctors recom- The baby was suffering HT Correspondentcreate panic amongst the com-MUMBAI: Chetana Malde, 31, heldHospital in Kandivli reassured mend termination of pregnancy.from congenital right-sided htmetro@hindustantimes.commuters, the police said.her newborn baby boy Meetthem that the baby had a good But doctors at Grace diaphragmatic hernia, where Katkar was drunk at thein her lap and realised thatchance of survival. A three-mem- Maternity Hospital said it wasthere was a hole in theMUMBAI: A Government Railwaytime of the incident. His bloodshe had taken the right deci-ber team from the hospital Drpossible to manage the condi- babys diaphragm Police (GRP) personnel misfired reports have clearly shown alco-sion of not terminating herSarita Bhagwat, a paediatric sur-tion because of advances in the The liver had protrudedin a local train in the wee hours hol content. He was holding hispregnancy. geon, Dr Pooja Vazirani, a fetal foetal medicine.into the chest through thisof Saturday while he was on loaded service rifle in his handsIn the 19th week of her preg-medical expert and Dr KartikWe found few subtle signs hole and was putting pres- duty. and mistakenly pulled the trig-nancy, a sonography revealed Bhagat, a obstetrician werethat predicted that the impactsure on the lung and heartKishan Haribhau Katkar, 46,ger, said Shivaji Dhumal, sen-that Maldes unborn baby was instrumental in saving Meet. of the defect on the lungs could This would have affected who is attached with the


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