A group of disabled people who visited Ripon Buildings launched a protest on 4th July, demanding disabled-friendly facilities. People participating in the protest demanded a barrier-free environment in all offices of Chennai Corporation. The Corporation have more than 2,800 buildings in the 15 zones of the city.
The protest started after Corporation officials were reportedly unable to provide wheelchairs for a few persons with disability.
An activist Aiswarya Rajalakshmi, said, “Many persons with disabilities have reported challenges to move about safely and freely and to use the facilities within Ripon Buildings, Amma Maaligai and other Corporation buildings in the zones,” “We will also organise protest in other government buildings. Most of the officials are not aware of the facilities to make be available for persons with disability,” she added.
Another activist A. Rao said, “After an hour of protest, officials brought a wheelchair which was rusty and damaged. So we requested them to provide a better wheelchair. After a few more hours, the officials brought 10 wheelchairs to Ripon Buildings and assured the protesters that more facilities would be commissioned shortly.
Activists also said that the officials are yet to provide a barrier-free environment. “Barrier-free design has to facilitate an environment suitable for independent functioning of individuals with various kinds of disability. We have to participate without assistance in all activities,” they said.