Accessibility October 6, 2019
Wheelchair users in Kerala demand accessibility features at famous Athirappilly waterfalls
Athirappilly is a famous tourist location in Kerala. But the place is inaccessible for wheelchair users and not disabled friendly at all. Wheelchair users who visit the place are forced to return back due to inaccessibility. Disability rights groups are demanding speedy action of wheelchair ramps and path installations in this famous tourist location.
Any tourist who visits Kerala, wouldn’t miss Athirappilly, a beautiful place located at Thrissur district. The serene greens and charming waterfalls are not to be missed. But like most tourist locations across India, this one too remains inaccessible for wheelchair users who are now denied the right of enjoying this beautiful place. Disability rights activists from across Kerala are now coming together to raise this concern and get a solution so that more wheelchair users can visit Athirappilly without hassles.
Manav* (name has been changed) a wheelchair user from Bengaluru arrived at Athirappilly with his family after hearing about its beauty. But soon after reaching the entrance, he had to stop because he could not join his family to check out the waterfalls. This is not an isolated case. Many wheelchair users are forced to return back like Manav. There are no wheelchairs or ramps at this most popular tourist destination in the state. Since the place is filled with rocks, a normal or electric wheelchair cannot be used here.
Rajesh S, a wheelchair user from Trivandrum, recently happened to visit Athirappilly with his family. He says he regrets the decision.
Since the place is rocky, a wheelchair clearly cannot go there. There are many ups and downs because it is a hilly area making it even more difficult. It is high time the government installs wheelchair paths and ramps. That is our right. Currently, the place is not wheelchair friendly at all. If they make it accessible, then we can also enjoy the beauty of Athirappilly-Rajesh S, Wheelchair User.
Since the holiday season is round the corner, a large number of tourists are expected to visit the area, and it includes tourists with disabilities too. Reportedly, officials are gearing up to make the place disabled friendly. Thumburmuzhy gardens and the nearby bridge are all set to be made wheelchair friendly and the works are currently going on. A few other projects have also been lined up.
“Thrissur district, where Athirappilly is located, was supposed to be made disabled friendly according to government project and rules. It is such a beautiful place and even wheelchair users must be able to enjoy it to the fullest. It gives us immense joy and happiness to visit such a place. But getting to that side is impossible. The government must step up to make it accessible and disabled friendly”, says Lys Bin Muhammad, President, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation.
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