The Panchmahal District Collector’s office is located on the first floor of the Godhra Sevasadan building on the Vadodara highway in Godhra, Gujarat.
For the longest time, physically-challenged, as well as elderly persons, found it difficult to have their grievances addressed by District Collector Udit Agrawal since the office had no elevator and they would have to climb the stairs to reach him.
Moved by their daily struggle, the collector approached the roads and buildings department to look into the issue and drive action to install a lift in the building on a priority basis.
But what is particularly commendable is that the IAS officer is now stepping out of the comforts of his chamber to meet the disabled and elderly persons who come to meet him on the ground floor, to save them the trouble of having to climb stairs painstakingly until the lift is installed.
He has set up a board in Gujarati on the ground floor near the entrance of the collectorate to make people aware of the move. This board mentions that ‘disabled/elderly persons need not walk up to the chambers of the district collector and he would come down to meet them’. Also, the security guards have been instructed to help struggling individuals and make them aware.
Speaking to The Better India, the collector who was posted to Panchmahal in April 2018, said, “I witnessed the struggle of a blind person who came to meet me. The same day, another senior citizen faced the same difficulty. So I decided to go down. In the coordination meeting today, we requested all the officers to follow the same protocol. If their offices are located on the second floor, and there is no lift in the building, they should go the extra mile to cater to the needs of differently-abled or senior citizens who cannot reach them.”
He signs off with a message to his fellow government officials, saying, “We should be sensitive to the less privileged, especially the differently-abled people. God has been kind to each one of us, and to be honest it doesn’t take much to look at the world from their perspective, understand their struggles and make smaller changes in our lives to extend the support we can.”
We hope more officials are inspired by the move to ensure their offices are accessible to people from all walks of life.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)