On International Day of Disabled Persons, Alleppey beach becomes disabled friendly
The Alleppey beach has 50-metre ramps for wheelchair access, Braille signage, and an audio-visual aid system.
In a first, Kerala now has a beach that is disabled friendly. Achieving this status on December 3, the International Day of Disabled Persons, the state government said it will look to extend the facilities that it offers at the Alleppey beach to others across the state.
The state tourism department spent Rs 58 lakh to make the Alleppey beach disabled friendly. It has a 50-meter ramp on each side of the beach for easy wheelchair access and there are signages in braille. The beach also has audio-visual aids.
According to a report in The Print, P. Bala Kiran, Director of the state’s tourism department was quoted as saying,
To make the tourist destinations barrier-free, we have now got Rs 9 crore for 125 major destinations. All 14 districts in Kerala have taken up projects and Alleppey completed the work early this month.
Organisations such as National Health Mission, I am for Alleppey Project, the All Kerala Wheelchair User Association, and the local district management contributed to the project, Outlook Traveller reported.
Ajith Kumar Kripalayam, President of the All Kerala Wheelchair Users Association, said, “It was always our dream to see the sea up close. When the state government built the ramp with the help of the tourism department and (Alappuzha) sub-collector Kiran Teja, it was as if God heard our prayers.”
Private entities that offer beach and marine safety services such as Drishti Marine say other state governments should also follow the footsteps of Kerala for their beaches.
Ravi Shankar, CEO of Drishti Marine, said, “It’s a requirement along the entire coastline in India. Accessibility, however, comes with a primary responsibility of also providing for better sanitation and public safety such as toilets, changing areas and showers, lifeguard and medical first aid services, to name a few.”