Nation Other News 11 May 2016 Tourist hotspots to ...

Tourist hotspots to be made disabled-friendly in Kerala

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARCHANA RAVI
Published May 11, 2016, 7:05 am IST
Updated May 11, 2016, 7:05 am IST
Plans for infrastructural changes like ramps.
A sculpture at Shangumugham beach. (file pic)
 A sculpture at Shangumugham beach. (file pic)

Thiruvananthapuram: The tourist destinations  mostly remain  out of bounds for those with disabilities.  But God’s Own Country is taking baby steps to correct this situation. The tourism department has plans to make tourist spots  accessible to such people, starting with the makeover of Shangumugham.

Apart from the ongoing Rs 1.2-crore project to renovate  Shangumugham, the department plans to include infrastructural changes like ramps and walkways here. T.V. Anupama, additional director (general) of tourism department, says, “another idea  mooted was laying special mats on the beach so that the
wheelchair-bound can move on the beach freely and reach as close to the sea as possible.”

 

The discussions on making the beach more accessible was initiated by Hema Subhash, a former software engineer who lost her leg in an accident. She  represented ‘One Step at a Time,’ a support group she founded for amputees in Bengaluru, and  met Thiruvananthapuram Mayor V.K. Prashanth and Anupama.

Accessibility will be an important aspect in all the Kerala tourism’s
future projects, according to A. Udayakumar, planning officer, tourism department. “This won’t be limited to people with physical disabilities,” he says.

 

The department is inviting ideas from all sources, including common people, to make destinations more accessible. Among the ideas suggested for Shangumugham are sound alarms inside comfort stations should a person with disability get stuck; Braille instructions at various points for people with visual impairment and  visual aids for those with hearing impairment.

The department hopes that it can implement the ideas, based on a public-private partnership model. “Many of the facilities will be beneficial even to the hotels in Shangumugham area. For example,  if the private institutions sponsor things like mat,  it will be useful for old visitors who use wheelchair,” says Udayakumar.

 

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Location: India, Kerala




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