February 15th, 2016
Image Courtesy: nortesinbarreras
Often, people with physical disabilities are unable to enjoy recreational zones like beaches. In a commendable effort, Tithal beach, Gujarat will successfully be developed as an accessible beach. An accessible beach is a disabled-friendly beach. The beaches are developed in such a fashion that individuals with physical disabilities are able to use all facilities and indulge in all activities.
Services are made available that enable disabled visitors to engage in activities of their choice without assistance. The first kilometre of the beach is scheduled to be made open to the public in June this year. The course will include open access up to the waters and is equipped with disabled-friendly food courts, washrooms and entertainment areas. This will be facilitated by the construction of slopes and detailed signage to enable the disabled to reach the water without assistance.
Development Of The Beach
There will be no barriers or steps which might obstruct the path. The ramps will have railings along their course as a safety measure. Food counters and help desks will be located at a lower level. The final plan is for a 3 km beach, the construction of which will be completed in two phases. The remaining 2 km will be developed later, adding another first to the Gujarat model of development. Rs. 5 crore will have been spent in the first phase. Vikrant Pandey, collector, Valsad, told the Mirror, “It will be first of its kind beach in India. The disabled visiting the beach will not feel discriminated in any way.”
Reaction Of Disabled People
The public is excited regarding the opening of the beach. Alkesh Rathod, a disabled youth, said he used to feel excluded when his friends used to make plans to go to the beach.”However, I will be among the first to visit this beach once it’s ready” he said. Another girl with a disability, Chandni Vasudev, explained how while she used to avoid public places earlier, she is thrilled about Tithal beach and would now feel confident going out.
For long, those with disabilities have been ostracised from society. In recent times, we have taken to a rather subconscious level of exclusion by shying away from the term ‘disability’, and using terms like differently or specially abled. Disability is nothing but impairment of function to below the maximal level, either physically or mentally. It is not something to be ashamed of, and certainly never intended offensively. Those with disabilities need to be included into society in a wholesome manner, not considered as inferior humans who need pity.
The Logical Indian lauds the Gujarat Governments move to make the state more inclusive and receptive to the disabled. We hope more states will follow suit.