Although the Bhutan Building Rules 2002 (BBR 2002) clearly states for infrastructure to be built in a disabled-friendly way, however, the rule has been ignored by both private and government builders.
A proposal called “Making Bhutan Accessible” with the objective to build accessible infrastructure for people with disabilities has been put into motion by Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan, Ability Bhutan Society and Civil Society Organization Authority.
The concern is gaining momentum, as recently, the Member of Parliament of Drujeygang Teza, Karma Dorji, asked the Minister of Works and Human Settlement, Dorji Choden, on the plans and policies of building infrastructures that are disabled-friendly in the country, during the Question Hour session of the House.
MP Karma Dorji said that disabled people, while trying to reach out in certain places, encounter problems and most of them do not have the benefit of public infrastructure and other facilities.
In response to the questions, Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that all governments, past and present, has always kept the concerns of the people living with disabilities in the government policies and plans.
Lyonpo said that the government has been taking various initiatives to take care of the special needs people, such as the special education system provided by Khaling for visually impaired children and children associated with hearing problem at Drukgyel School. There are also hostels and academic buildings built in schools where education is being offered to differently-abled students.
Similarly, the disabled-friendly park at Centenary Farmers’ Market by Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen is also one of the initiative in making the space advantageous for disabled people.
Lyonpo Dorji Choden informed the House that BBR 2002 clearly requires for proper steps, railings, toilets, etc., to be built for the special needs people.
As stated in BBR 2002, Lyonpo said that the government will encourage the builders to build all kinds of infrastructure where disabled persons can also have the benefit of it.
“The government is also looking for other measures in providing safe environment for all disabled people across the country,” Lyonpo Dorji Choden said.
However, both the government and private builders could not implement the rules owing to extra costs incurred. The Minister informed the House that the government is in process of drafting guidelines in addition to the revision of Bhutan Building Rules 2002.