POKHARA, August 2: Last December, Susmita Gurung of Parsyang in Kaski district was walking along the Malepatan road to attend her college. She was on a wheelchair, which was being pushed by her relative. Suddenly, a motorcycle coming in high speed from the opposite direction hit her. Gurung tumbled down badly, her forehead got banged and she sustained severe injuries.
After nine months, that dreadful incident still haunts her to this day. “I feel frightened to venture out in lack of disabled-friendly roads,” she said.
Hitmaan Chhantyal, chairman of Independent Life Approach Committee, said disabled-friendly roads are missing in Lekhnath-Pokhara Municipality. “People with disability cannot walk in roads without support from others. The roads are not leveled, making it difficult for disabled people,” he said.
According to him, they have filed numerous complaints at the concerned government offices. “Not much improvement has been seen despite our repeated attempts. The government has not been able to help the people with disabilities,” added Chhantyal.
It is not easy to obtain wheelchair at time of need, he further said.
“Political leaders have not shown any concern. When we request them for help, they always cite hurdles from opposition parties. Such blame game should be stopped at once,” he said.
Giriraj Subedi, founding chairman of Disability Independence Development Association (DIDA), Nepal said, “Many of the plans have failed due to failure to implement them.
Narrow footpaths have created many problems here. People with disabilities stumble and sustain injuries. There is a need of proper management,” he said, further urging that every footpath in Pokhara needs to be at least three meters in width.
On Wednesday, 61 wheelchairs were distributed to disabled people with aid from Germany-based Voegele Holding.
Meanwhile, Mayor Man Bahadur GC of Pokhara-Lekhnath metropolis said they have plans to make roads and other structures of Pokhara disabled friendly. If the promise actually gets implemented, about 9,000 people with disabilities in Kaski will benefit from it.