Chennai: Despite a detailed round of disability access audit for the RK Nagar bypoll a few days ago, PwD (persons with disabilities) on Thursday were put into hardship while casting their vote due to inaccessible ramps, non-availability of Tamil Braille sheets and absence of handrails.
“Appropriate training was not given to volunteers on accessible infrastructure and reasonable accommodation. The ramps were steep in a few booths and though some of them were modified, they did not reach the desired standards,” said Smitha Sadasivan, Disability Legislation Unit, Vidya Sagar.
She further added that inaccessibility of ramps due to unlevel surfaces, ups and downs and unavailability of kerb ramps was major restrictions on access this time.
Moreover, visually impaired were among those who faced most difficulties this year despite of submitting a 11-point guideline to the election commissioner and deputy commissioner after the audit.
They rued that the special lighting they had asked for, was not provided and the quality of the Braille sheet was reportedly very poor.
“Firstly, Braille was not available in Tamil and moreover, whatever was provided was not of good quality as we were unable to detect the candidate numbers. The EVMs were not numbered and improper naming of the symbols added to our woes,” said S. Mohanraj near a polling booth at Netaji Nagar.
On a brighter side, wheelchairs were available in all polling booths and signage of priority queue and yellow poster swere stuck in all the booths.
The accessibility audit was conducted earlier this month by four disability rights organisations including the Disability Rights Alliance India (DRAI), December 3 movement, Maathi Yosi and Udavikkaram, along with volunteers from Bhumi....