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The Delhi High Court today said the maintenance of tactile paths on city pavements should be done on "war footing", so that the new facilities can be accessed by visually impaired persons. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the Delhi government and the MCDs should make the south and north campuses of Delhi University disabled friendly as a pilot project. It asked senior officials of the two sides to physically inspect the spot and prepare an action plan to ensure immediate steps in this regard. "Continuity of tactile marks on pavements should ensure easy navigation by any persons, especially visually impaired," the bench said, adding it did not want a policy for this, but the issue "has to be addressed on war footing". The obstructions especially for the disabled, created by potholes, poles and shopping kiosks on pavements, in the north campus also led the bench to take the MCD officials to task for their "criminal negligence". It termed the situation as "extremely distressing" as the tactile markings on the pavements were "replete with obstructions" including pillars, hoardings and signboards. The bench also asked the Delhi government's public works department, North and South Delhi Municipal Corporation to conduct an inspection and file their status report before the next date of hearing on March 6. The observations and directions came during the hearing of a PIL by a student of Delhi University, Himanshu Goswami, who has sought removal of encroachments and maintaining of tactile pavements in the national capital. The plea has said that a direction was necessary so that visually impaired people had the dignity and independence to move around freely and without any obstruction. Seeking an order to the authorities concerned to consider introducing tactiles at public places and in other parts of the city for the benefit of visually impaired people, the plea has sought to clear tactile paths of encroachments by unauthorised vendors and food vans.
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