Disabled innovators get recognition


New Delhi : Imtiaz Ahmed Kachvi from Karnataka is polio stricken since the age of two. During one of his trips to Hubli, he suffered bruises on his palms and knees while trying to board public transport. After this incident, he devised a hand-pedalled tricycle for easy mobility.

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He and several others whose disability made them to create a niche for themselves were honoured at the Universal Design Awards launched here Saturday by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) in collaboration with Mphasis.

The awards also honoured companies and people who supported the disabled by treating them as equals.

At the awards function, speakers stressed that corporate social responsibility (CSR) should not be treated as charity by companies.

“I am very disappointed by Indian corporates, as their contribution as CSR is very nominal. Money, technical help and personal involvement should be the criteria of any company’s CSR,” said Chief Election Commissioner of India S.Y. Quraishi.

Those honoured under category A of the awards included Kachvi, Sam Taraporevala, a visually challenged professor in Mumbai’s St. Xavier’s College working on increasing access to professional courses and banking facilities to the blind, and Mumbaikar Sunita Sancheti with a spinal injury involved in building facilities in commercial establishment and credited with introducing wheelchair dancing.

Category B and C consisted of working professionals and companies involved in creating a disabled-friendly surrounding and treating them as equals by creating opportunities for them.

Isaac George, general manager, Wipro Ltd, said: “Though we have delayed the institution of such an award, its better late than never.”

Gopinathan Padmanabhan, president-sales of Mphasis, said that the accessibility to the disabled will mean giving them the right to freedom, equality and dignity.

Also present were, Minister of State for Communication Sachin Pilot and Javed Abidi, honorary director NCPEDP, who focused on the websites of various ministries which needed to be made accessible to the disabled.

Ensuring steps to make the new media accessible to the disabled, Pilot said: “In the US, it is mandatory for every TV channel to have captions and things like accessibility of websites…My ministry is ready to do whatever is required.”