Srinagar, Apr 13 : To facilitate Persons with Disabilities (PwD) to exercise their right to vote, the District Magistrate (DM), Srinagar, has directed ten errant schools notified as polling stations to allow construction of ramps at their premises as part of the Election Commissioner (EC)-mandated assured minimum facilities at polling stations.
Srinagar Parliamentary constituency, spread over three central Kashmir districts of Budgam, Srinagar and Ganderbal, is going to polls on April 18 in the second phase of polling in the state. First phase of polling was held in Baramulla in north Kashmir and Jammu on April 11. An official spokesman on Saturday said that DM, Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary Friday issued an order directing ten errant schools notified as polling stations in the district to immediately allow construction of ramps on their premises.
The order states the setting up of ramps for PwD voters at notified polling stations is mandated as per the directions of the Supreme Court with the aim to facilitate them in exercising their right to full and effective participation and inclusion in society.
The order states that hindrances in this regard are undue and account for serious violation of provisions of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951.
The order directed for constitution of a committee headed by the Joint Director Planning which will undertake accessibility audit of all government and private schools in the Srinagar district and submit compiled findings in the regard within a period of one month.
It states that enabling a barrier-free environment for students with special needs in schools is mandated under the J&K Persons with Disabilities Act 1998 as well as the central Scheme for Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act 1995. It also said that construction of ramps in schools as part of other measures for facilitating children with special needs is also mandated in the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights' Manual On Safety and Security of Children.
The accessibility facilities at schools will be measured against the guidelines of the Supreme Court, Election Commission, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, National Disaster Management Authority among others ensuring safety of children, providing barrier-free access to schools and enabling education of children with special needs. (UNI)