ISLAMABAD, Feb 2 (APP):In spite of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s instruction for transforming all the federal capital’s public places into disabled-friendly, the Pakistan Museum of Natural History (PMNH) is still lagging behind in providing all-out facilities to the people with special needs.

Last year, the Prime Minister Office (PMO) told the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to take necessary steps for ensuring all the public places in capital city as disabled-friendly by providing all kind of facilities including ramps, lifts, toilets and others to the Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

“Neither the CDA, nor the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) has come forward to facilitate us in setting up ramps, elevators and disabled-friendly toilets at the museum,” an official at the PMNH told APP on the condition of anonymity.

He said the PMNH received around 20,000 visitors per month and most of them were school-children, who come here on the field trip or for research purposes.

“Normally, every class of a school contains one or two physically impaired student, which prompts the need for making it disabled-friendly at the earliest as we receive such type of visitor on daily basis.”

“We cannot facilitate people with disabilities for lacking a proper building,” he regretted and said the department could not even facilitate such visitors to reach at the second floor of the building due to non-availability of a lift.

He said the museum was set up to sensitize the citizens about the importance of wildlife in balancing eco-system but they are unable to attract a sizeable number of visitors due to paucity of funds.

“I was excited before reaching the museum but my jubilance whisked away when I saw there are no proper arrangements for people like me,” said Shazia Altaf, a special student from a Rawalpindi school.

Shazia said she felt remorseful for not visiting the 2nd floor of the museum where my other classmates were taking lessons about science and wildlife.

When contacted PSF, its spokesman said the building of museum was set up at ad-hoc basis as the construction work on six blocks of the buildings , out of total eight, were yet to be started.

He said a PC-I for construction of the remaining blocks had been prepared and would be submitted to the relevant quarters for approval shortly, pointing out that the inclusion of disabled-friendly facilities were being ensured in the new design.

To a query, he said some old ramps existed in the museum but could not confirm their functionality at the moment.

The CDA spokesman said the agency had issued public notices to all the departments and buildings in the federal capital in that regard and had asked them to ensure disabled-friendly buildings in stipulated time period.

He said soon the CDA would dispatch its teams to ensure the compliance of PMO’s order, adding that new buildings layout plans were being approved in the federal capital after fulfillment of that condition.

PMNH is the only museum, working under the PSF, which has conserved around 1.5 million specimens of rich natural resources collected from all over the country and displaying in form of the more than 150 attractive 2-D and 3-D exhibits.

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