Chennai, Feb 18 (BPNS)
With Tamil Nadu going for Urban local body polls on Saturday, February 19th, People with Disabilities (PwD) are at a loss as several booths don’t have facilities for them to assess the booths.
During the assembly polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI )had done a yeoman service in providing all facilities for People with Disabilities in Tamil Nadu, during the Urban polls it is found lacking.
Activists and organizations working among People with Disabilities are disappointed over the callous attitude taken by the State Election Commission despite several petitions on providing adequate facilities to this category of people in polling booths.
Deepak Nathan of ‘ December 3 movement ‘, an organization working among People with Disabilities while speaking to BPNS said, “ According to Section 11 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, both the Election Commission of India (ECI) and State Election Commission (SEC) should ensure that all polling booths are accessible to persons with disabilities and all materials related to the electoral process are easily understandable for and accessible to them”.
He also said that there are 21 types of disabilities and to ensure that they vote without hesitation authorities should have published the facilities available for them at booths and stakeholders. The activists complain that nothing has been done till the last hours of the election for the people with disabilities to vote in a hassle-free manner.
M. Soudamini, a person with locomotive disabilities from Teynampet in Chennai while speaking to BPNS said, “ I went around a few booths to study if the facilities including ramp are there and is disappointed that nothing has been done to provide us facilities to vote.”
She said that the State Election Commission of Tamil Nadu has forgotten the people with disabilities whose rights have been ensured in the constitution. Soudamini said, “It’s really sad that in these modern times, everyone knows their rights and still we are being left out. I am complaining against this injustice to all the necessary forums.”
Disability Rights Alliance (DRA) member and consultant for the Election Commission of India Smitha Sadasivan said that she had written letter to the State Election Commission but there was no proper response.
With urban local body polls to commence on Saturday morning, the poor facilities provided to the people with disabilities is a matter of concern and it is to be seen as to what facilities will be made available in the next few hours for the PwD’s to vote without any hitches.