Apathy adds to agony of disabled

Apathy adds to agony of disabled

Thousands of pensioners, many of them disabled, are forced to climb stairs to reach pension office on the third floor of the Bangalore Urban Treasury on JC Road here as a lift meant for them has been defunct and left to rot for the last eight years.

The treasury, located on the third floor of the Mysugar Annexe building near the Town Hall, caters to more than 1,38,000 pensioners. Twenty per cent of the pensioners are disabled.

“Hundreds of pensioners, including physically disabled, come here everyday to get various receipts and in search of answers to queries. However, the Treasury Office is on the third floor and we just can’t reach them as the lift has been defunct for ages. Though the department has set up a help desk on the ground floor, not all problems can be sorted out there,” complained Sudheendra K, a physically challenged person, whose pension has been blocked for the last three years.

The lift has been reduced to a dirty showpiece, with a not-so-helpful “Help Desk” positioned right before its door. Those manning the desk point to the stairs every time the elderly and disabled look helplessly at the lift.

A team from the State Commission for Persons with Disabilities has inspected the lift and watched many struggling to negotiate the stairs.  

The team also came across many cases of apathy here on Friday.    The inspection team found no ramp at the entrance of the building without which persons on wheelchairs cannot move in easily. “Conditions in the building are not at all favourable for disabled persons. There are no pathways or sliding doorways for the movement of the disabled.
Also, there are no Braille buttons or auditory signals to enable visually challenged persons to move around.,” said H Manasa Devi, Assistant Commissioner of the commission.

Asked about this sorry state of affairs, Umadevi, Deputy Director of the Bangalore Urban Treasury, said they “have been looking for a disabled friendly space as managers of the existing building (Mysugar complex) have ignored our appeals for better facilities for the handicapped. We have inspected more than 56 buildings for office space and many requests have been sent to the revenue department in this regard. Finally, the government has allotted space in Kandaya Bhavan along KG Road. We will soon be moving there.”

However, members of the commission took exception to the treasury officials not providing at least temporary ramps to help the disabled to move around the office. When asked about the lack of facilities, managers at the Mysugar complex said the rent amount they get from the tenant was very low and much more was being paid to the government in the form of different taxes.

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