GUWAHATI, Oct 30: Exceptional passion and determination among a group of physically challenged persons has led them to take the unmatched mission of creating awareness through bike ride across 2500 kms in 10 days. Their resolve is to promote accessibility for people like them creating a barrier-free environment and provide the disabled a friendly access in public facilities and places.The ride has been ceremonially flagged off by CP Marak, IFS (retd.), member, Meghalaya State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission from the University of Science and Technology Meghalaya (USTM) recently in the presence of Mahbubul Hoque, chancellor of USTM, officials and students USTM and several office bearers of All Axom Divyanga Development Association. The initiative is fully supported by the ‘I Can I Will Academy’ of USTM, an academy for the physically challenged talents.
Speaking on this occasion, Mahbubul Hoque said, “The ‘I Can I will Academy’ of USTM is for the especially abled talents of the region. Under the outreach initiative of the University, this academy is supporting this Accessible Awareness Ride which is in the tune of the Government of India’s Accessible India Campaign”. He said that inclusivity and equality for all is a mission of USTM and in the ‘I Can I Will Academy’ such physically challenged persons can get education and skill training for their development.
The ride is undertaken by 6 physically challenged persons by 3 retro-fitted scooty with pillion facility. It will cover 2,500 kms connecting 28 districts of Assam in 10 days. The riders are: Samsul Haque, Amir Ali and Saidul Bhuyan while Upama Bezbaruah, Abdul Haque and Mrigangka Das will be in pillion. The team departed from Khanapara Veterinary Field on the morning of 30th October and will ride through South Salmara, Barpeta, Tezpur, Dhakuwakhana, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Hojai, Maibong and will reach Guwahati on 8th November 2022.
Addressing the gathering as the chief guest, CP Marak said that the objective of the ride is to increase awareness for accessibility in Government buildings. Provision of features of accessibility such as staircases, ramps, double height handrails, tactile paths in corridors, wide entry gates, reserved parking and disabled friendly toilets, accessible elevators, etc. need to be made. Public-centric buildings like schools, hospitals, police stations, courts, tourist places, etc. are the focus areas.
Spreading awareness of disability is important because it teaches people how it affects people’s lives and how one can help someone with a disability. It can be mentioned here that the Government of India enacted the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016 which came into force from April 2017. The State Governments are to adopt the ‘Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for persons with Disability and Elderly Persons,’ 2015.