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9 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Disabled-friendly roads in capital demanded

“The state of roads, footpaths and footbridges in the capital are not easy to cope with, for the person having physical disabilities”
UNB

Crossing busy city streets can be fatal in Dhaka, particularly for the ones who have visual impairment, reports UNB. Nazmus Sakib, a visually impaired student of Dhaka University, still recalls with a sense of horror the day he met an accident at Shahbag while trying to cross a road.

"While I was trying to cross the road at Shahbag, a car hit me leaving my legs injured in April this year", said Sakib, the general secretary of Physically-challenged Development Foundation (PDF) of Dhaka University unit, a platform for physically-challenged students.

Every day thousands of physically challenged persons like Sakib are facing such difficulties in their way to access desired goods, services, activities and destinations as there are very little special facilities for their safe road crossing.

Under the circumstances, road crossing becomes an everyday struggle for them.

For the troubles, Sakib blamed Dhaka's road crossing system as well as the absence of road designs, zebra crossings and separate ramps along foot over bridges to ensure easy movements of challenged people.

He told UNB, "The state of roads, footpaths and footbridges of the capital  are not easy to cope with, for the person having physical disabilities and even the general people have to face trouble here."

Sakib said with a pity that, "We have to take help of others to cross roads but sometimes we don't even get anyone for the assistance."

Abdul Hye Mandal, president of National Grassroots Disability Organisation (NGDO), an NGO for disable persons, said to cross the roads the disable persons have to depend on others' sympathies as in Dhaka there is no special arrangement for them.

Talking to UNB, Professor Dr Moazzem Hossain, director of Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), said, though the number of persons with disabilities is significant in Bangladesh, they did not get required facilities in public places.

Terming the road crossing system 'faulty' he said to make the disables movement smoother, every foot-over bridges should have separate ramp way and the pavements should be textured for pedestrians who are blind and visually impaired.

In recent months though Dhaka saw many of its pavements get textured.

Another transport expert Dr Mahabubul Bari said foot over-bridges are not an effective solution of the problem. To him, zebra crossing, effective traffic signal system and special signaling for the physically challenged can reduce the problems of road crossing.

Akbar Ali, a senior assistant secretary of Social Welfare Ministry told UNB that government is very much sincere about the wellbeing of all people with physical disabilities.

He said, "Several years ago the wellbeing of disables were not in anyone's concern but the incumbent government is very much active to enhance their quality life.” Gradually the problems would be addressed, Akbar added.

Bangladesh has a significant number of people with disabilities. According to the list of Social Welfare Ministry of 2013, at least 15 lakh people with 12 types of disabilities live in the country and a remarkable number of them are living in the Dhaka city.

Considering its significance, Bangladesh has prioritised 'disability' as one of the important thematic part of development and also put necessary policies to ensure disability-inclusive development.

Bangladesh is highly committed to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, leaving no one behind, particularly those with disabilities. Moreover, the Protection of the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2013 ensures the mobility of people with disabilities in public places without any difficulty. But the visible steps to make the roads, footpaths and foot over bridges hurdle-free are still largely being ignored which might obstruct achieving the development agendas, noted the experts.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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