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Thursday, 25 June 2015

New push for disabled - Bahrain

NEW rules to install disabled-friendly facilities in shopping centres, government establishments and public parks will soon be imposed in the Southern Governorate.

It means the Southern Municipality will have to install special children's rides and toilets at all public parks, walkways and gardens, while shopping complexes and government service centres will be ordered to have special facilities.

The decision, approved by the Southern Municipal Council, will be enforced on new projects starting July 1 and will give existing establishments until the end of the year to adopt the new policy.

Council chairman Ahmed Al Ansari said the rules could be rolled out nationwide following an assessment from the Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry.

"At the moment, there are special car parks and ramps at all private and public facilities for physically disabled people - that's it," he told the GDN.

"When disabled people get into the establishment then they can't do anything because there is nothing for them, whether it is a public walkway, park, mall, shop or government services centre.

"Disabled parents are unable to take their children inside parks to play because the area is sandy and wheelchairs can't go in and it is even difficult to walk with crutches.

"Also, there are no special rides for disabled children, who are being robbed of the enjoyment of playing in parks."

"It is also very upsetting that handicapped people cannot shop properly because they are not taken into account when things are planned and if it wasn't for the disabled quota, they would have been sitting at home too."

Mr Al Ansari said the new requirements will be enforced on businesses in co-ordination with the Industry and Commerce Ministry and the Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry.

"Existing places will have to make changes before the end of the year and the ministries concerned have agreed to follow up," he added.

The GDN reported last week that a proposal to give disabled Bahrainis BD200 monthly allowance was approved by the Shura Council's services committee.

Last year, a proposal by the Shura Council and parliament to increase the allowance from BD100 to BD150 was approved by His Majesty King Hamad, but legislators now want to increase it to BD200.

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Source : Gulf Daily News, 22nd June 2015

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