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Tamil Nadu post offices go the extra mile to become specially-abled friendly

Tamil Nadu's Trichy Head Post Office has taken measures to make their premises friendly to the specially-abled by installing Braille signages and tactile flooring

With the objective of making public institutions more accessible and inclusive, the Tiruchirapally or Trichy Head Post Office has made its premises disabled-friendly by installing Braille signages and tactile flooring.

This initiative is part of the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan which intends to create a friendly environment for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). Apart from the Trichy office, the Braille signages have been distributed to six head offices coming under the Central region.

Talking to the media, T. Nirmala Devi, Postmaster General of Central region, Tamil Nadu, said as post offices are visited by people from different walks of life, there is a need to make their visits hassle-free.

She went on to add that as many post offices are in rented premises, the authorities face some restrictions in making modifications. This is not the case in those buildings which are owned by the government where the authorities will make efforts to build ramps, provide service counters at the ground floor and install a lift for the specially abled. Plans are afoot to make use of voice assistance technology to enable people to know about details of schemes of the post office.

T. Maheshwari, Secretary, Society for Rights of All Women with Disabilities, Chennai, talking to India Narrative welcomed the move by the postal authorities. “It is a step in the right direction. We hope other public institutions and offices will also adopt such measures to make their premises and offices friendly for the disabled people.”

When asked by India Narrative what more can be done to make places user friendly for specially abled, Maheshwari replied: “Offices should have ramps to enable disabled using wheelchairs to access them. They should have provision to keep a wheelchair in the premises which can be used by those disabled who don’t possess one. Signages are a must to help the visually impaired while there should be one person in the office who must be familiar with sign language to help the speech and hearing impaired. Provision of lift for the disabled is necessary. Institutions which can afford to designate one person exclusively to help the specially-abled should do so.”

She said it is not just offices but also other facilities which should be accessible to specially-abled. “Most of the ATMs are difficult to reach for disabled people, especially those which are located in malls and big markets. Wherever possible, these machines should be located in such places which have facilities that can help the specially-abled reach them.”