Pokhara metropolis office is not disabled-friendlyDisabled complain about hardships while acquiring ID card.
Durga Devi Ghimire, 32, of Phulbari in Pokhara is disabled by birth. She does not have command over her arms and legs and relies on a wheelchair to move around with the help of an aid.
On Monday, Durga accompanied by her father, went to Pokhara Metropolis office to acquire an identity card for the disabled. However, the task of collecting her identity card turned into a nightmare for her because of the limited movement she was allowed inside the premises that were not disabled-friendly.
Bedraj Ghimire, her father, was at his wit’s end, trying to maneuver their way from one room to the other at the office. “It’s almost impossible to carry her (Durga). As soon as we stepped out of the taxi, we realised that the office is not disabled-friendly. If they cannot make disabled-friendly infrastructure then they should make a provision of distributing the identity cards at the main gate itself,” he said. “We are having a tough time making our way around here.”
The amount of time Durga and her father were made to wait to receive the identity card also added to their woes. Blaming the lengthy bureaucratic process to acquire an identity card, he said, “I somehow managed to push the wheelchair into the room where they were distributing the identity cards. But even after we got there, we had to wait for hours before we finally got the card.”
Other disabled people who were at the metropolis on Monday to receive their identity cards also went through the same ordeal. “The metropolis should consider building a disabled-friendly structure. It was difficult for me to reach the room where they were distributing the identity cards,” said Bharat Bikram Baniya of Pokhara who is below waist.
The metropolis has been distributing identity cards to the disabled for the past six months on the last Monday of every month. As per the metropolis office’s records, 248 people with physical disabilities have received their identity cards so far. The government provides a monthly allowance under the social security programme to those with an identity card issued by their respective municipalities and local level offices.
When asked, Deputy Mayor Manju Devi Gurung admitted that the metropolitan office does not have disabled-friendly infrastructure. “This office building was constructed some 38 years ago. The infrastructure is not disabled-friendly because of that. We will have to tear this building down and build a new structure that will be disabled-friendly,” said Gurung, adding that the metropolis will make the necessary arrangements for the disabled people to avail of the facilities at the metropolis’s office.Most government offices in the country are not disabled-friendly making it difficult for the disabled to use government facilities and services.
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