Chandan Prakash Singh, New Delhi, 24 April 2013
Satendra Singh, a doctor at a University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS), is happy after winning a long fought battle. His efforts have resulted in installation of two automated teller machines (ATMs) inside Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital.
The machine, accessible for person with disabilities, is an outcome of a firm persuasion by Dr Singh, who himself is a person with locomotor disability.
Recalling the efforts he made to achieve this goal, Dr Singh said that despite directions from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2009 and interference of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD), who wrote to the Department of Banking Operations and Development in the year 2011, to make ATMs disable-friendly, not much action was taken and nothing came in concrete form.
He further said that the RBI master circular advises all the banks to provide ramps to their ATMs so that wheelchair users and persons with disability can easily enter the booths. The arrangements should be made in a particular height so that there would be no possibility of impediment for wheelchair users.
|New ramp constructed at Bank of Baroda ATM at GTB Hospital|
However, when Dr Singh filed an Right to Information (RTI) application to the RBI on behalf of the Enabling Unit (for persons with disability) at UCMS, it came to light that the RBI has no information on such ATM’s.
"It is the responsibility of the RBI to implement its circular. But it does not have any information on ATMs and their accessibility status," said Dr Singh.
He said that since both the Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank ATMs, located inside GTB Hospital premises, were inaccessible without ramp he wrote several letters to the respective bank managers and even organized Canara Bank AGM’s meeting with Medical Superintendent of GTB but all in vain.
“Later, this year, I complained to CCPD and they sent notices to the General Managers of both banks after which Bank of Baroda immediately complied by constructing ramp with stainless steel railings but Canara Bank did not comply. At this, CCPD sent another notice to Canara Bank which led to the beginning of a construction of ramp at Canara Bank ATM too,” said Dr Singh.
He further said that rather than complaining about each and every ATMs in the Capital, Banks should show their accountability and should immediately construct a ramp so that ATMs should be accessible for persons with disabilities.
PS: The above news also featured on the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) website.