Rolling Without Limits

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HPU on the Verge of Becoming First Accessible University in India's Northern Region
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HPU on the Verge of Becoming First Accessible University in India's Northern Region

The Indian government is focused on increased accessibility for people with disabilities. According to Census 2011, out of India's 1.32 billion (approximate) population, nearly 2.21% of the total population has some sort of physical or mental condition that restricts their movements, senses, or activities.

In an era where it is imperative to focus on inclusive development, HPU (Himachal Pradesh University) is gearing up to become the first accessible university in the country's northern region, an official confirmed the report on Wednesday, May 9th.

Ajay Srivastava, who is Member of Executive Council and Nodal Officer (Disability Affairs) said the varsity was shelling out a whopping 40,00,000 INR (about $59500) on multiple facilities for the differently-abled students.

"This will include a separate section of the library for the disabled with 13 computers, equipped with talking software and fully accessible web portal. The university community is also sensitized on the issues pertaining to disability," Mr. Srivastava said in a statement.

Along with 12 visually impaired students, there are over fifty students who are differently-abled that are currently studying in the campus. The library work has already started and much to the delight of the students with mobility, and any other sort of restriction, they will be given exclusive access to the talking software-equipped computers as well as the scanner.

"A grant of Rs 11 Lakh (about $16300) has been provided under the Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) for the purchase of computers, software, Ebooks, wheelchairs, and equipment for the disabled students and sensitization programmes," Mr. Srivastava added.

They are also on the verge of launching a radically overhauled web portal which will be fully accessible for the visually and hearing impaired and other differently-abled students who find using mouse an arduous task. The cost of the site will be nearly 21,00,000 INR, which converts roughly to about $31200.

Students with restricted mobility will be provided a van. Moreover, they will also have access to lockers in the teaching departments where they can keep their personal possessions.

"The toilets in all the departments will be made disabled-friendly by using ‘universal design’. New ramps are also being made to so that wheelchair users and other disabled could move smoothly on the campus," the nodal officer noted.

“The university has directed the State Bank of India to convert its existing ATMs to talking ATMs for facilitating the blind students,” he added.

Image credit: Apna Himachal / YouTube Screencap

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