Accessibility December 5, 2020
Patna gets its first accessible restaurant for people with disabilities
This World Disability Day has been made memorable for many Patna residents. The Bihar capital has its first accessible cafe for people with disabilities. Called The Downtown Café the owner said he decided to do an accessibility makeover as he wanted to give the town its first inclusive space.
Long-time patrons of Patna’s The Downtown Cafe are in for a surprise the next time they walk through its doors. The cafe located in Kankarbagh in the Bihar capital has undergone a makeover to become more accessible for people with disabilities.
Cafe owner Astik Kumar decided to opt for an accessibility makeover after witnessing the struggles of a family member who is physically disabled.
“The Downtown Cafe is an old establishment and I decided to make it accessible after seeing how a close family member who is physically disabled would struggle to enter a restaurant or any public space”, says Astik who is 29 years old. “There are no ramps anywhere and two people are needed to lift him inside”.
Gradual makeover planned
From an accessible toilet to a staff member dedicated to disabled visitors, Astik has put many facilities in place already. A ramp has been built and wheelchairs will be available for visitors who need them. Visually impaired visitors can choose their dishes independently thanks to the Braille menu card. Going ahead there are plans to make the space accessible for deaf visitors.
My aim is to make The Downtown Cafe inclusive in every sense of the word. By this I mean people with disabilities and from the LGBTQI community. When I travel to cities like Delhi and Mumbai, I see how people there are sensitised. That mindset must come to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. – Astik Kumar, Owner, The Downtown Cafe
Present at the launch of the newly accessible cafe was Harsh Raj , an economist and founder of YOGYA, a disability rights NGO. A Bihar native, Harsh, who is physically disabled, is happy that his home state is taking baby steps towards becoming inclusive.
“I have lived in Kerala and Delhi and have visited cafes that are not only accessible for people with disabilities but employ them as well. I have always wanted to see this in my hometown and it makes me happy to be here to witness this”, says Harsh. “Until now I had to crawl on my hands to enter restaurants and cafes in Patna. Now I no longer need to do that”.
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