Mangaluru, March 16,2016 : Members of the Mangalore Senior Citizens Association (MSCA) said that government offices, especially the sub-registrar’s office, should always be on the ground floor. The district administration had shifted two sub-registrar offices to the first floor of the Mini Vidhana Soudha even though it has no lift or ramp.
This is inconvenient for the physically challenged and senior citizens. According to ’Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act’ it mandatory for public buildings to have ramps, lifts and other facilities for disabled persons and senior citizens. However, the Mini Vidhana Soudha inaugurated at Hampankatta last November has not adhered to this mandate.
Built at a cost of Rs 10.26 crore, the Mini Vidhana Soudha houses the taluk office, assistant commissioner’s office, offices of the sub-registrar and land records, ’padasale’ of the revenue department, which were earlier housed in the deputy commissioner’s office premises, and the office of cooperative audit. The three-storeyed Mini Vidhana Soudha which is spread over 3,712 sqft has basement parking.
MSCA secretary K Ramesh Rao told media, the building is not ’disabled friendly’ and senior citizens too find it difficult to walk around.
"It is mandatory to provide ramps, rails, lifts, disabled friendly toilets for wheelchair users, braille symbols and audio signals in lifts at public offices. However, the Mini Vidhana Soudha doesn’t have any of these facilities.
"The physically challenged, patients and elderly persons have to reach the sub-registrar office for document registration. Since there is no lift in the building, relatives or friends of disabled and senior citizens persons help them reach the first floor where the sub-registrar’s office is located. The building should have been opened only after providing all these facilities," Ramesh said.
It is surprising that the authorities are so thought less at the planning stage.
Shockingly, the building is located near a very busy road. "Senior citizens, persons with disabilities and patients find it difficult to cross the main road. Seven major accidents took place in this area in 2015," he said, adding that the issue has been brought to the notice of the district administration, ministers and the State Human Rights Commission.