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Gurugram inaccessible for specially abled

Fri, 08/09/2019 - 10:16 -- geeta.nair

Sumedha Sharma

Working with an automobile giant, 36-year-old Haruto from Japan and his nine-year-old daughter Sakura were excited about living in Gurugram for six months.  Having heard so much about cosmopolitan city Gurugram and its infrastructural development from his friends, Haruto was sure that it would be best suited to get her daughter a slice of Indian life. Two weeks in the city and Sakura was on her flight back home to Kyoto.

“Yes, she could not see Gurugram city as the challenge she faced was not there back home. The moment we stepped out of the airport we realised the real challenge. I had fanatically searched for an 'accessible' home but to my amazement, the city that boasts of flats even costlier than those in Japan did not have any such feature. Ironically, while condominiums boasted of being designed to even suit your pet birds, I could not find any that would allow Sakura to move around unaided. My daughter, who would go to school, park and even market on her own back home, had to take help even to maneuver around the house. She wanted a person 24X7 to help her even to get into the lift, and walk around the society park. There was no chance that she could be sent alone on road or even to a mall, as there was no way to manage things around even with her stick. Had no choice but to send her back,” says Haruto.

The experience is not solo or unique but shared by almost every specially-abled person in the city. Gurugram has over the years gained many titles such as millennial city, cyber hub, automobile hub, party capital or medical  tourism hub but it’s still miles away from becoming ‘universally accessible’. Be it our government buildings, public spaces, roads, malls and even houses, hardly any structure has been designed or modified to allow an unaided access to specially-abled people, especially like Sakura. Yes, there are wheelchairs and entry ramps at many places but facilities such Braille buttons in lifts, Braille guides, railings, short staircases and a smooth walkway are unheard of in the city.

The city boasts of luxurious living spaces that provide every single facility that you can think of. However, not even one housing project qualifies as being ‘universally accessible’ or simply be barrier free.
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