Bhubaneswar: Odisha Police seems to have turned a blind eye to the plight of the differently-abled as several of its buildings are inaccessible to persons with disabilities (PwDs), making a mockery of Persons with Disabilities Act-1995 and the revised Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
Even though more than two decades have elapsed to the enactment of the Act and several amendments made to it further, many police stations as well as office buildings at the Police Headquarters in Cuttack have remained unfriendly for the PwDs. These buildings lack ramps, Braille signage and wheel chairs meant for the differently-abled victims/complainants.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 has allowed the public authorities five years from the date of notification to make the existing public buildings across the country accessible to PwDs. Section 45(1) of the Act says, “All existing public buildings shall be made accessible in accordance with the rules formulated by the Central government within a period not exceeding five years from the date of notification of such rules.”
However, the enactment is yet to be fully implemented at the police stations across the state. Various offices in the premises of the police headquarters at Cuttack woefully lack the facilities in place to make them accessible to the differently-abled.
The buildings like Odisha Police grievance cell, the Crime Branch head office, office of the Director General of Police, the public relations office that also has the DG RTI cell and the State Police Museum do not have the requisite facilities.
The DGP grievance cell which is visited by hundreds of victims from cross the state daily has no ramps or wheel chairs. The buildings with higher plinths and staircases only inconvenience the PwDs as well as the elderly. The other offices also don’t have extra wheel chairs for the PwDs as enshrined in the Act.
Significantly, many police stations in state don’t have ramps in the buildings. Prominent police stations under the Commissionerate Police where such facilities don’t exist are: Mancheswar PS and Sahid Nagar PS in Bhubaneswar and Cantonment PS in Cuttack.
When asked, the Inspector General of Police, Headquarters, Asit Panigrahi thanked Orissa POST for bringing up the matter and said, “We will soon take steps to ensure that the buildings on the Police Headquarters premises are accessible to the differently-abled victims.”