A stretch of the Marina Beach area has been made accessible to differently-abled persons thanks to an initiative by the Greater Chennai Corporation in association with the Disability Rights Alliance TN, an annual affair since 2016. The event was disrupted in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Though the event is scheduled every year on December 3 (International Day of Persons with disabilities), this year due to heavy rains, it is taking place in the last week of December.
The ‘Wheelchair-accessible Marina Beach’ will be open for kids and adults from December 27 till January 2. On January 1, as part of Covid-19 restrictions implemented by the government, it will not be accessible.
In a Facebook post, Accessible beaches in Chennai wrote, “The rains may have played spoilsport around 3rd December, World Disability Day, but Greater Chennai Corporation is determined to squeeze in the beach access celebration before December ends. New Years Day 2022 alone will not be possible as per pandemic rules. So mask up and come. The accessible beach path to the sea (and a few beach wheelchairs too) await you,” the post read.
A temporary wooden friendly pathway near the Gandhi statue was laid on Sunday. Though the official inauguration of the initiative is scheduled on Tuesday in the presence of Municipal Administration Minister KN Nehru and other corporation officials, the organisers have allowed people to make use of the facility from Dec 27.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Vaishnavi Jayakumar, one of the organisers of the event, said they have been making efforts for quite a few years to make this into a permanent pathway that will provide access to differently-abled people to the beach anytime.
The Corporation has provided the beach wheelchair and this year, the organisers have managed to get the amphibious wheelchair from the Kovalam beach as well for people to enjoy at the shore safely.