Monday, July 22, 2013

NHFDC’s MoU with inaccessible PNB Branches to harass students with disabilities

University College of Medical Sciences
(University of Delhi)
& Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital
DElhi – 110 095


EU/EOC/UCMS/122                                                                                           Dated: 20 July, 2013
Secretary,                                                      Chairman-cum-Managing Director           
Department of Disability Affairs                                National Handicapped Finance and
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment,              Development Corporation (NHFDC)
Sixth Floor, Shastri Bhawan,                                      Red Cross Bhawan, Sector-12
New Delhi-110 001                                                     Faridabad-121 007

(Through Principal, UCMS & GTB Hospital)

Subject:           NHFDC MoU with inaccessible PNB branches
Reference:       D.O. No.NHF/1/2(3)/Edu-loan/2013/85095 dated 3 July 2013 from CMD, NHFDC
Dear Madam,
Let me first put on record the laudable initiative of NHFDC regarding concessional educational loan facility through Punjab National Bank (PNB) for students with disabilities. However, despite the best possible intention the MoU has a serious flaw that it is made with branches which are inaccessible to persons with disabilities.
Your urgent attention is drawn to following fallacies:

1. Inaccessible Retail Asset Branches (RABs): The referenced D.O (Copy attached) has the list of six RABs in Delhi. I contacted these branches yesterday over phone and as per their information Faridabad and CP, RAB are on second floor without provision of lift, hence inaccessible. Gurgaon RAB has 3-4 steps at the entrance but the bank official said it won’t be a problem to disabled person as their own Senior Manager is a wheelchair user & he is ‘lifted’ by guards to accommodate inside. Karol Bag RAB also has few steps at the entrance.

2. Incorrect information: The contact details mentioned at Green Park RAB are not of a bank rather it’s a residential number of a lady residing in Central Delhi. They have been getting numerous calls regarding loan and rightly upset because of the whole mess. Also, the phone number provided at the Anand Vihar RAB is a fax number only.

3. Unaware Officials: Most of the officials like at Karol Bag RAB are unaware of any MoU with NHFDC and they need to be sensitized regarding the whole procedure of availing loan.

Against the above backdrop, I would request you to urgently intervene on the following:

A)    Issue directives to NHFDC to include only ‘accessible’ PNB RABs under the MoU and ask PNB to comply at the earliest.
B)    Issue directives to NHFDC & PNB to include correct information and numbers.
C)    Ask PNB to make all their branches and ATMs accessible to persons with disabilities including the Gurgaon RAB where a wheelchair employee is treated with indignity.
D)    Ask RBI to have a data of all the accessible and inaccessible Banks/ATMs in India. Despite various master circulars from RBI, a large number of Banks are inaccessible. My RTI revealed that RBI had no record of number of inaccessible bank/ATMs as on 3 Dec 2012. Please find attached the Times of India article covering this story.

I request your goodself to kindly intervene at the earliest. Any intimation of action taken in this matter will be highly appreciated.
Thanking you,
Enclosure: As above
Dr Satendra Singh, M.D.
Coordinator, Enabling Unit
Equal Opportunity Cell

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