After the difference made by pandemic for two years and constant efforts given by disability rights activists, a track will be made for the People with Disability for a week at Chennai's Marina Beach. This will give a chance to the people to experience the waves closely with their way of convenience that City Corporation will build with the help of disability rights activists.
The track will be made from wood and inaugurated by Municipal Administration Minister K N Nehru on December 28. It will be there till January 22, 2022. "Volunteers and the team of Disability Rights Alliance will be there to assist and guide visitors with disabilities," said Smitha Sadasivan of the Disability Rights Alliance Tamil Nadu. According to The Hindu report, people have been instructed to attend the event with their masks on and the Corporation is making all the necessary arrangements for the PwDs.
The beach is made accessible for the PwDs every December to give importance to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities; also, activists have been raising their voices to make the track a permanent one. Presently, there are four beach wheelchairs arranged by the City Corporation and it is usually kept inside the accessible toilet, and the residents are not aware of its availability.
As per The New India Express report, they are looking for some designs that would go with Coastal Regulation Rules, which creates a balance between human recreation and conservation of the ecosystem that lies near the coast. In one of the designs, a passage is made using eco blocks used to build rainwater harvesting structures as they are permeable and are also used by the City Corporation to build temple tank restorations and other projects.
In another design proposed has African teak in it. "The designs have not been finalised since we also have to consider the cost difference between the two designs, among several other factors," said a Senior Corporation Official. The closing date will be extended according to the kind of response received from this initiative.
India Towards A Disabled-Friendly Infrastructure
According to National Building Code(NBC), there is a compulsion for airports and railway stations to give accessibility to the PwDs. With a population of around 80 million people with disabilities due to any reason, the policymakers came up with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities act 2016 that concerns the access of PwDs to public or private buildings, workplaces, commercial activities, public utilities, religious, cultural, leisure pr recreational activities, medical or health services, law enforcement agencies and transport infrastructure. The Government also launched Smart Cities Mission that had it's focused on (a) giving access to pathways, junctions, footpaths, bus shelters, crossings and public transportation; (b) creating accessible websites, applications, government portals or community engagement platforms; (c) designing accessible buildings, parks, playgrounds, schools, colleges, hospitals, recreational areas, public toilets.
In 2015, the Prime Minister launched the "Accessible India"(Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) campaign to make it convenient for PwDs to administrative buildings and transport. Like any other citizen of the country, even people with specific disabilities also have the right to live free and access to places and things, being citizens of the same country.