Bhubaneswar ranked as first in the Smart Cities challenge tends to set benchmarks for other shortlisted cities. It aims at becoming livable, eco-friendly, transit oriented, regional economic centre and child-friendly city.
The area based development envisions retrofitting and redeveloping its city’s core into vibrant space by promoting walk ability; mixed land-use; green infrastructure; pro-business environment and social equity. The essential feature highlights provision of accessible pathway designs for persons with disabilities. The component of urban regeneration of streets will include elements like slopes, ramps, installation of auditory traffic signals, engravings on surfaces at zebra crossings, Braille and tactile maps for bus transportation systems and directional signs.
The pan-city solutions also state provision of guidance on barrier-free access points in public spaces, auditory signals and ergonomically designed bus queue shelters, allowing universal access. The notion of universal access to infrastructure and technology for all fails to integrate component of accessible technology for persons with disabilities.
The proposal fails to address the needs of persons with disabilities in its various projects like Project Swabhiman (multi-skill centre); Project Kusum (early childhood care centre); Project Kutumb (social equity centre); etc. The proposal only focused on the aspect of mobility while neglecting other sectors for persons with disabilities.