Accessibility February 8, 2020
Gujarat ‘Statue of Unity’ to be made accessible for disabled people
The central government has announced that the Statue of Unity’ located at Kevadia in Gujarat will be made disabled-friendly very soon. This is the world’s largest statue and by making it accessible for disabled and elderly people, the government hopes to draw ore tourists.
The BJP government claims that the Statue of Unity built by their government in Gujarat is the tallest statue in the world. Unveiled on October 2018, the statue of Indian independence activist Sardar Valabhbhai Patel is located at Kevadia in Gujarat. Reportedly, there are over 5000 tourists from across the world who visits the statue every week. This includes elderly and disabled people. The government is all set to make the statue and premises disabled friendly. The move has been welcomed by disability rights activists from across India.
One of the world’s biggest marvels
The ‘Statue of Unity’ has undoubtedly given India a bigger platform in world tourism. Its architect Ram V Sutar has ensured to make it in the finest manner. The statue of Patel, who was the first Home Minister of India post-independence, received a lot of applause. But many people came forward and criticized Modi government for spending crores of rupees on the statue when a majority of the population in the country still lives under property.
Recently, Shanghai Cooperation Organization tagged ‘Statue of Unity’ as ‘8 wonders of SCO’. American President Donald Trump who is scheduled to visit India later this month will also pay a visit to ‘Statue of Unity’.
There are many reasons that makes the statue unique in an international platform. That is precisely why the government had to step up and make the premises disabled friendly.
The many facilities for disabled people
The government has not yet announced when the disabled friendly facilities will be introduced. Shakuntala D Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has been quoted saying to The Pioneer, “Statue of Unity meets up almost all accessibility requirements. Features such as conveyor belt, lifts with Braille button, spacious corridors, directional signages, wheel-chair facilities and accessible drinking water and toilets in the Statue of Unity are novel features that need to be replicated universally”.
Apart from that, audio facilities and Braille maps for visually impaired people will be introduced.
Reportedly, over 14 people with various kinds of disabilities have visited the statue and premises to look into the many ways to make it disabled friendly. The Social Justice Department of central government is not leaving any stone unturned to ensure that the ‘Statue of Unity’ is made disabled friendly.
The need for disabled friendly tourist places
India is one of the biggest tourist spots in the world. There are thousands of historical monuments that tourists come to check out.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 states that all tourist places must be made disabled friendly. But the government has not yet been successful in implementing that.
Krishnakumar PS is a wheelchair user from Kerala who is an ardent traveler. “The government should have made it disabled friendly when they built the statue. There are many disabled people who wants to travel but are denied the opportunities. Something like a ‘Statue of Unity’ is the face of our nation. I haven’t yet thought about visiting the place. But if it is made disabled friendly then why not?”, he says.
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