The Telegraph
Saturday , March 25 , 2017

Efforts to make smart city disabled-friendly

A speaker at the seminar in Guwahati on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, March 24: Dispur today requested the organisations working for people with disabilities to prepare a blueprint on necessary interventions required to make Guwahati a differently-abled people friendly smart city.

The request was made by additional chief secretary Ravi Capoor in a roundtable seminar on inclusive smart cities and accessibility. The seminar was co-organised by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and Shishu Sarothi, in collaboration with the Guwahati development department here.

"Please make a blueprint on how a smart city should look like from a differently-abled person's point of view. If it is done now it will be helpful to prepare the Guwahati smart city plan. Try to make it within three months," Capoor said.

Guwahati is one of the 20 cities which will be converted into smart cities in the first phase by the Centre.

The seminar discussed the measures to be taken to make a smart city differently-abled friendly. It emphasised on enabling differently-abled persons access to the digital world.

"Persons with disabilities have often been neglected and excluded from the various plans, schemes and campaigns of the government. A case in point is the smart city mission that has hardly any mention of accessibility for persons with disabilities. More importantly, with technology being the cornerstone of the smart cities initiative the already existing digital divide will only grow further if it is not made inclusive for persons with disabilities," said Arman Ali, executive director of Shishu Sarothi.

Javed Abidi, director of NCPEDP, requested the government to ask corporate sectors and other profit making organisations to follow government rules strictly. He said there are legal and political mandates in favour of differently-abled persons in the country.

The participants of the seminar included James Thurston, vice-president of G3ict, a non-profit organisation in Georgia, US, Rama Chari, director of Diversity and Equal Opportunity Centre, a consulting organisation, and Sweta Patnaik from Unicef Assam.

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