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Centre applies New measures to 144 Tourist sites, likely to make it Disabled-Friendly

ASI has identified 50 ancient sites and has prepared a list of these under its Adarsh Smarak Yojana

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Taj Mahal.Image source: webneel.com
  • The government has planned to set up solar wheelchairs, battery-driven carts and special toilets among other facilities at 145 cultural wonders
  • The overhaul will take place in an organised phase manner and will cover prominent monuments throughout the nation
  • The officials said that these facilities would be put up without modifying the authenticity of these sites

In a welcoming initiative taken up as a part of the ‘Accessible India Campaign’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi , several  monuments will be made accessible to the differently-abled visitors.

The move has come up in a joint effort of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) and the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).

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The government has planned to set up solar wheelchairs, battery-driven carts and special toilets among other facilities at 145 cultural wonders such as the Taj Mahal and Jagannath Temple to ensure that these structures are more inclusive to the needs of the differently-abled in a country.

Apparently, the overhaul will take place in an organised phase manner and will cover prominent monuments throughout the nation, reported India Today.

For its initial phase, ASI has shortlisted 50 ancient sites and has prepared a list of these under its Adarsh Smarak Yojana, considering to cover the historical structures that witness very high tourist footfall first.

Taj Mahal Image Source:Rollingrains.com
Taj Mahal Image Source:Rollingrains.com

taj mahal

The sites that would be covered also include the Ajanta and Ellora Caves of Maharashtra, Delhi’s Qutb Complex and Red Fort, Rajasthan’s Ranthambore Fort and Brahma Temple, Group of Monuments at Hampi in Karnataka and Odisha’s Konark Sun Temple.

Presently, 25 out of 3,680 protected monuments in India have been selected under the Adarsh Smarak Yojana. However, a senior ASI official said that the list of Adarsh monuments had been revised with the number going up to 100 from 25.

DEPwD joint secretary Mukesh Jain told dailymail.co.uk, “The programme is being executed under the direction of the DEPwD only as we are making all heritage and religious sites disabled-friendly by introducing special arrangements for ‘Divyang’ people.”

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The officials said that solar wheelchairs, battery-driven carts, brail signage, tactile floors or pathways, special toilets and railings, etc, would be available at the very entrance of these archaeological sites.

It will be taken into serious consideration that these facilities don’t meddle with the original structure of these monuments. There are also discussions to involve attendants at some of these archaeological sites to assist the differently-abled if needed.

The initiative is also seen as the government’s effort to boost international tourism.

Note:  ‘Accessible India Campaign’ (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) is an ambitious project launched in December, last year. The programme intends to make at least 50 per cent of all government buildings in the country’s capital and all state capitals “fully accessible” for the disabled by July 2018.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Aparna Gupta

    This measure will help the tourist. This will also reduce the pollution and thus, preserving our environment.

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Catapults To Protect Tourists At The Taj From Simian Attacks

The biggest threat to the security of tourists comes from monkeys and there are hundreds of them waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting visitors.

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The Taj Mahal attracts not only foreign, but domestic tourists too; Source: Pixabay

Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal will now be under safety cover of catapults to scare rampaging monkeys who have been injuring visitors at an alarming frequency.

A group of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) troopers are now seen with catapults and not licensed arms for use against terrorists and anti-social elements.

The biggest threat to the security of tourists comes from monkeys and there are hundreds of them waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting visitors, tourist guide Ved Gautam told IANS.

Almost daily a monkey bite case is being reported. Last month, the number of victims was 16. The Archaeological Society of India (ASI) has put up notice boards at several places warning tourists of monkeys.

taj mahal
Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal will now be under safety cover of catapults to scare rampaging monkeys who have been injuring visitors at an alarming frequency.

At 15 points, CISF personnel armed with catapults are ready to take slingshots at the simians who have turned ferocious.

“When they see a catapult aimed against them, the monkeys flee full speed for safety,” a trooper said.

CISF Commandant Braj Bhushan Singh said his men had been given catapults to scare away the monkeys and make tourists feel safe inside the Taj Mahal premises.

A number of plans have been drawn up by various government agencies including the Agra Municipal Corporation after a monkey snatched a baby from a mother’s lap and killed it some two months ago.

Catapults made of plastic and rubber were selling Rs 10 a piece but are now the price has gone up to Rs 20 due to increasing demand all over the city.

Vegetable vendors, temple security staff, shopkeepers and domestic servants are buying catapults.

TAJ MAHAL
Catapults to save tourists at the Taj from simian attacks

According to a rough estimate, the number of monkeys in the Agra city area is around 50,000.

Also Read: Global Greenhouse Gas Level Continues To Rise, Need For a New Political and Investment Paradigm

“Such a big population of simians can neither be provided for nor shifted as there are no forests left. Usually they return to urban areas even if they are transported to remote areas,” said an animal husbandry expert.

“The problem was earlier confined to Mathura and Vrindavan, but now they are all over the Agra city,” said Shravan Kumar Singh, a green activist.

Meanwhile, Naresh Kadyan, Chairman of the National Animal Welfare Party, has protested against the arming of CISF personnel with catapults. He has lodged a complaint with the union Environment and Forest Ministry citing provisions of the Wildlife Act. (IANS)