Location finalized for accessible trail on Elliots Beach

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Stakeholders submit a recommendation; it will now be picked up by GCC for CRZ clearance, says DRA member

Stakeholders submit a recommendation; it will now be picked up by GCC for CRZ clearance, says DRA member

Members of the Disability Rights Alliance (DRA) along with various stakeholders focused on a location for an accessible route to be provided in Elliots Beach and submitted their recommendation to the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC).

GCC officials, people with disabilities, local vendors, fishermen, environmentalists and local residents were among those invited to participate in accessible route discussions earlier this month. “We wanted all of these stakeholders to meet upfront and consider any concerns that might arise in the future based on the locations we had focused on. The location we have finalized and recommended will now be supported by the GCC for CRZ authorization,” said Vaishnavi Jayakumar, Member, DRA.

In Chennai, a location has already been finalized for an accessible trail at Marina Beach and this is now in the tender stage. Work on this should start soon.

In addition to the accessible trail, several other requirements must be met to provide an accessible beach experience for people with disabilities. This includes ensuring that the surrounding pedestrian area is accessible, as well as identifying routes between the nearest public transport system and the beach path.

“There should also be a dedicated parking space, as well as accessible toilets. A ‘Can I help’ counter located near the track with a first aid desk and a coastguard must be there,” said DRA member Smitha Sadasivam. She further said that while beach wheelchairs will be made available, they need proper storage space and dedicated people should be appointed once the permanent path is constructed to assist wheelchair users.

Since 2016, a temporary path has been installed on the occasion of World Disability Day on one of the city’s beaches so that people with disabilities can walk to the beach and get closer to the sea. “The year last the lane stood for almost three weeks and around 1,500 disabled people from Chennai as well as places like Vellore and Kancheepuram visited,” said DRA member Sathish Kumar. He said they love going to the sea when the temporary trail is built each year and look forward to using the permanent trails once they are ready.

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