One of the toughest impediments for the disabled population in India is the lack of proper infrastructure in public places. Gujarat has launched its project on making beaches more inclusive for the disabled. Tithal beach in Valsad district is all set to become the first disabled-friendly beach in India. The main idea is to design the infrastructure to leave no room for the need of dependency for the physically challenged and rule out discrimination against them.
Tenders have been floated for the project. The project will include construction of slopes with no barriers or steps and installation of detailed signage for access to the shore without any assistance. Construction on the 3km long beach will be carried out in two phases. In the first phase a kilometre long stretch will be converted for the physically challenged while the 2-km second phase will be taken up later.
The Government will spend Rs 5 crores in the first phase. “We will have ramps and railings from the parking area to the water,” Valsad Collector Mr. Pandey said. He said the construction has been planned after taking inputs from the physically challenged. Bathrooms and changing rooms will be accessible via wheelchairs. The food counters will be lower in height for service. “The disabled visiting the beach will not feel discriminated in any way,” he said. The idea for the project was derived from Central Government’s Accessible India campaign, reports The Times Of India. Work on the 1 km stretch of the beach has commenced and is tentatively going to open for public use by June this year.
Tithal Beach is the most popular sea-side tourist destination in Gujarat with an average of a thousand visitors every week. The physically challenged have been missing out on a pleasurable experience. It is an arduous task to negotiate a wheelchair on sand. Many officials have lauded the sensitivity of the Government. Mr. Pandey said, “It will be first of its kind beach in India” reports India Today.
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