The organisers of the event call it a rally with a difference and indeed it is one. On March 4,Pune will witness its first car rally for the visually impaired. The rally,which will be flagged off at 8 am from Phoenix Market City Mall,Kalyani Nagar,is expected to get registrations from around 125 drivers. The rally will follow a strict pattern – the participants will drive the car,while a visually impaired navigator in the car will direct the driver by reading through an instruction manual written in Braille.
The participants will have no clue of the route before the start. The driver will act only in accordance with his visually impaired partners instructions. The navigator will read the Braille instructions and direct the driver on where to turn,what speed to go at and for how much distance, said Shivam Arren of Poona United Round Table 144,which is organising the rally.
Similar rallies have earlier been organised in Delhi,Mumbai,Chennai,Kolkata,Nagpur,Nashik and so on,while Pune enters the list this year.
The rally will cover nearly 65 km. It will consider the factors of time,speed and distance,but it is a rally and not a race, said Arren. The route will have 10 check points in place for the cars. To regulate the speeds of the vehicles and discourage undue competition,some strictures have been put in place. At the flag-off,all the cars will hit the road in the matter of a minute. On the basis of this,every car will have an assigned time to reach every check point. Both early and late arrivals will be penalised,the former more heavily.
The rally has been planned with multiple objectives in mind. It will raise funds for the Poona Blind Mens Association,through entry fee and sponsorship. The participants will also get to interact with a visually impaired person throughout the journey,a chance they may not otherwise get. It will also help boost the confidence of the navigators, added Arren.
The rally has already received around 50 registrations,and the organisers are in the process of obtaining requisite traffic and police permissions. The participants will drive their own cars at the event. Every participant will be awarded a certificate,while the top three arrivals will be given trophies.