Persons with disabilities often face discrimination and are denied their rights to participate in society on an equal basis with others. 

This was echoed by the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Diethono Nakhro, during the sensitisation and awareness campaign on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act 2016 for Nagaland government officials.   

The Mission Mode Team (Accessible India Campaign), in collaboration with the office of the state commissioner for persons with disabilities, is conducting the campaign on the RPwD Act for state government officials across the state. The second phase of the campaign was held from October 28 to October 30 in the districts of Zunheboto, Longleng and Mon. The first phase of the campaign had earlier covered Kohima, Dimapur, Peren and Wokha districts. 

Elaborating on the various provisions of the RPwD Act 2016, Nakhro underlined the unacceptable existing situation in the state whereby persons with disabilities are literally ‘uncounted’ and left behind in all areas of life. 

She explained the roles and responsibilities of the district administrations and various departments towards implementation of the RPwD Act. 

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Commissioner and secretary, K Libanthung Lotha, who led the Mission Mode Team, said the campaign is being conducted to sensitise the state government officials as well as local bodies and authorities on the RPwD Act 2016 and to raise awareness on the need to create barrier-free environments, including in workplaces, for inclusion and equal opportunities of persons with disabilities. 

The court directives on implementation of the RPwD Act 2016 was highlighted by Apila Sangtam, advocate, Gauhati High Court, Kohima Bench. She stressed the need for timely compliance with the provisions of the Act by the various departments. She also underlined the legal implications for the state government in the event of non-compliance. 

The Mission Mode Team has been constituted by the Nagaland government with Lotha as team leader, executive engineer, social welfare and water resources department, K John Mera, as member secretary, and senior architect Nungsangwati and joint director, urban development department, Tarachu Fithu, as members. 

The campaign will be conducted in the remaining districts in the coming weeks. 

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com