Gujarat civic body to compensate for razing stalls of disabled men

The Ahmedabad-based award-winning Blind People’s Association (BPA) has won a long-drawn legal battle against the authorities over removal of stalls set up by disabled men.

By Mahesh Trivedi

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Published: Wed 19 Mar 2014, 12:25 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:39 AM

The Gujarat High Court has finally disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by BPA in 2006 after the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) removed the makeshift shops owned by physically challenged. The court has now directed the civic body and the AUDA to pay Rs30,000 as compensation to the BPA for violating its order and removing stalls allotted to people with disabilities.

The BPA had filed a PIL opposing the civic authorities’ action of removing these stalls. The court in 2006 had ruled that the civic bodies could not remove the stalls for widening of a road without allotting the disabled people an alternative site. In 2007, when municipal officials again evicted a stall owner with 80 per cent disability and asked him to put up another stall at a certain height in some other place, the BPA moved the court again, claiming that civic authorities’ action amounted to contempt of court.

According to BPA’s Bhushan Punani, had said that despite the court’s stay order, stalls were removed in three localities.

Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad police have launched several measures to help hundreds of sightless men and women who daily visit the BPA complex for training, education, rehabilitation and support.

Under ‘Project Roshni’, the visually impaired people wanting to cross roads are now being given sticks with passive radio frequency chips, which will have active sensors. When they come out of BPA campus, the sensor will send an SMS to the traffic policemen posted nearby that a visually impaired person is about to cross the road.

The police have also started LED display and announcement on the speakers installed near the zebra crossings. A traffic policeman also assists the visually impaired citizens. The similar system is being installed at the bus stands to alert the officials about their arrival.

What’s more, Braille printers are being installed at police stations for copies of their complaints or applications. Blind people will be 
able to get print-outs of an FIR and laws concerning disabled people and women’s safety, and useful books will be provided to them for reference.

The police department will also provide free vocational training for typing and translation to the sightless and later the job of translation of legal documents at the police station will be handed over to them.

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