Imagine getting through a busy day without legs or hands. Picture a life without the ability to walk or to embrace those who love you. Even imagining this is difficult. There are thousands who are disabled and are going through life like champions. One such champion is Rani, a simple girl from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Rani lost her hands in a childhood accident when she was helping her parents in the fields. In 2001 she had gone to fetch water from a pumping set when she slipped, and both her hands were trapped in the machine. Her parents tried to give her best treatment. Doctors gave their best and experts from abroad were called to observe the case. The bones and veins of hands got destroyed, and there was no choice except to amputate both her hands. Rani’s father didn’t give up and consulted doctors in Jaipur, Mumbai and Pune. Unfortunately, there was no possible solution and eventually they had to amputate.
But Rani didn’t let this unfortunate circumstance dictate her life. Her relatives telling her father that she was a burden, made her stronger in her resolve to achieve her dreams.
Her father, a farmer, took a loan and funded her education. Rani’s mother encouraged her to start practice writing with her feet. Though initially difficult, she soon developed a habit of writing with her feet. She studied hard and qualified for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) and enrolled herself in IIT Mumbai to pursue MTech. She has qualified six times for PSUs (Public Sector Undertaking) and also she had interviewed for positions in NTPC, IOCL, NPCIL but due to her disability she has been told that she is not eligible, as reported by Dainik Bhaskar.
Her question is if she can study without hands and qualify for GATE, then why can’t she work? She wants to tell people that her disability is not at all a problem in comparison to her education and qualifications. Her parents have sacrificed a lot to fund her studies, and she does not want it to go in vain. The pain inflicted by society is more than the pain she felt when she lost her hands. She is disappointed by the lack of support from the industry.
It is possible that she was denied a job because the organisations thought it would be dangerous for her to be in the field, which could be due to lack of support for disabled personnel. But she should still be given an opportunity to try whether or not she can perform the tasks. She has already proven her mettle by earning a degree from the country’s premier institute. It is time for us as a society to create an inclusive environment. For her and all the other people with disabilities.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.