Mumbai: 90 Days Deadline for BMC to Improve Footpath Accessibility for Differently Abled & Elderly

BMC promises to rectify bollard spacing on footpaths, enhancing accessibility for wheelchair users and the disabled within 3 months.

Mumbai: 90 Days Deadline for BMC to Improve Footpath Accessibility for Differently Abled & Elderly

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has pledged to rectify the spacing between bollards on Mumbai's footpaths. BMC assured the high court on Wednesday that it would complete the task within 3 months. This move will improve accessibility for seniors in wheelchairs and people with disabilities.

The issue came to light following an email from Karan Shah, a 25-year-old wheelchair user. His email prompted the Bombay High Court (HC) to take a sup moto cognizance of the issue.

Anil Singh, representing BMC, informed the court that a city-wide survey had been conducted. The survey revealed inconsistencies in bollard spacing across the city's 24 wards. The relevant ward officers have been informed and are expected to take the necessary action.

Singh mentioned a universal policy by the central government that prescribes a specific gap between bollards to facilitate wheelchair users. He requested three months to implement the necessary changes.

The court acknowledged the central government's "universal footpath policy" and appreciated BMC's efforts. It expressed hope that the disparities in bollard spacing would be addressed within three months.

Advocate Jamshed Mistry, acting as a friend of the court (amicus cruiae), highlighted the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. The Act mandates the formation of a State Advisory Board on Disability to advise the State Government on disability-related matters.

The court has asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to participate in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

This is due to their jurisdiction over certain roads intersecting with the footpaths in question. The case is scheduled for its next hearing on March 12. The court expects to see progress in making Mumbai's footpaths more accessible for all.

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