Disabled quiz city official on accessibility, discrimination

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Disabled Pattaya residents were given a chance to air grievances and learn what public officials are doing to help them at a hearing organized by the Pattaya Disabled Development Center and Chonburi Disabled Association.

Pattaya City Councilman Rattanachai Sutidechanai stood in for Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome at the March 16 forum at the Redemptorist Vocational School. The disabled were represented by Samrith Chaphirom, president of Chonburi Disabled Association, and Udomchok Churat of the Redemptorist School.

A student addresses Rattanachai Suthidechanai (not shown), requesting the mayor solve the footpath and mini-buses issues in Pattaya.A student addresses Rattanachai Suthidechanai (not shown), requesting the mayor solve the footpath and mini-buses issues in Pattaya.

Students and other area residents complained about the inconveniences and discrimination the disabled face in Pattaya, including sidewalks blocked by street vendors and the refusal of baht bus drivers to stop for people in wheelchairs. Audience members also quizzed the councilman on what the city was doing on their behalf.

Rattanachai saluted the disabled for bringing fame to Pattaya with their efforts on the sports field. He said the city is studying expansion of the Eastern National Sports Stadium complex to make it universally accessible and become a base for national disabled-athlete training.

He also said the city was working with the Muang Jai Dee program and Thai Health Promotion Foundation to make the city more accessible through the construction of sidewalk ramps, wheelchair-ready restrooms and roadways crossings.

The councilman said officials are very aware of the obstacles the disabled face at the beach and other places in Pattaya. He said all the stands between this realization and result is money, and the city has requested more funds from the government for accessibility projects.