Priority for disability boss

Making barrier-free environment for differently abled people in public and private buildings is one of the priorities for Shivajee Kumar, newly appointed state commissioner for disabilities.

By Shuchismita Chakraborty in Patna
  • Published 2.05.18
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State commissioner for disabilities Shivajee Kumar in his office. Telegraph picture

Patna: Making barrier-free environment for differently abled people in public and private buildings is one of the priorities for Shivajee Kumar, newly appointed state commissioner for disabilities.

Shivajee, who is also managing director of Samarpan, a school for intellectually disabled children, took charge of the state disability commission on April 25. He has sent letters to major public and private facilities, including the Reserve Bank of India, government and private hospitals, hotels and malls, to ensure a barrier-free environment - easily accessible facilities - for the differently abled.

"On my first day in office, I noted down a 40-point agenda to work on. One of the things is ensuring a barrier-free environment for the people," said Shivajee, who has vast experience in working for differently abled people.

The state commissioner for disabilities works to ensure the rights of differently abled people and monitors infringements and denial of their rights. It is an autonomous body under the state government, controlled by the office of the chief commissioner for persons with disabilities.

Sources said there wasn't any full-fledged state commissioner for disabilities for a long time as secretary-rank officials were given additional responsibility.

Shivajee, who has been made the full-fledged chief commissioner, said his office would also work to ensure disabled children get 5 per cent reservation in admission to private and government schools according to provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

"We will soon appoint access auditors to check whether the schools are abiding by the norm or not. The auditors would also visit public and private buildings to see if they are accessible to differently abled people. They will check if the buildings have ramps and toilets suitable for the differently abled and submit a report to our office," added Shivajee.

Among the other things his office will do, Shivajee said, is to hold two mobile courts and two static courts a month.

"The post of the state commissioner for disabilities has judicial powers. We can hold court and hearing of cases related to differently abled people like issuance of disability certificate, proper health check-up and reservation in educational institutions and government jobs We are also empowered to send notice to government departments and call government officials to court in a case hearing. Any person who violates the disability Act or any rule or regulation, can be imprisoned up to six months or pay penalty of Rs 10,000 or both. Such is the power of the post," he said.

Shivajee said court hearings under the state disability commissioner's office had not been held for the past two years. "The first mobile court will start in Madhubani district on May 15 and May 16. I have already issued instructions."