An exclusive permanent pathway for persons with disabilities was inaugurated at the Marina on Sunday.
The facility, established by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), was thrown open by Municipal Administration and Water Supply Minister K.N. Nehru, Health Minister Ma. Subramanian, and HR and CE Minister P.K. Sekar Babu in the presence of Member of Parliament Dayanidhi Maran and Chepauk – Thiruvallikeni MLA Udhayanidhi Stalin.
Post its inauguration, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, in a social media post, referred to the words “Dream come true!” by a woman who visited the Marina and said, “Yes, the dreams of many have come true! As promised, we have laid a permanent pathway for the differently-abled. As your sibling, I’m as happy as you.”
GCC Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi has directed officials to increase the frequency of conservancy operations to keep the area clean. Mechanical cleaning operations have been launched along the 263 metre stretch of the wooden pathway to prevent garbage from accumulating near the stretch.
A large number of people gathered on the stretch of Marina beach near the pathway on Sunday after the facility was launched.
Ministers, Chennai Mayor R .Priya, Deputy Mayor Magesh Kumar, Members of Parliament and MLAs walked the stretch of the pathway followed by the persons with disabilities.
The pathway has been developed with funding from Singara Chennai 2.0 at an estimated cost of ₹1.14 crore.
Following the directions of the Chief Minister, Mr. Nehru had announced in the Assembly the development of the pathway, among infrastructure projects for the year 2022-23. The 3-metre-wide pathway leads to a 22-metre-wide deck for disabled people to view the sea.
Mr. Udhayanidhi Stalin launched six vehicles for the disabled acquired at a cost of ₹4.12 lakh under the MPLADS funds of Chennai Central MP Dayanidhi Maran.
Representatives of the disabled persons stressed the need for giving way to wheelchair users and elderly along the pathway. They said people should be advised not to sit on the railing or ride on the path or block the railing.
Sai Karthick, who visited the beach in a wheelchair, said he had not been able to visit the beach for eight years as he had been unable to walk. “I thank the government of Tamil Nadu for the initiative,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Disability Rights Alliance Tamil Nadu, in a release said the systematic work of an understanding team from GCC and the untiring efforts of the Alliance have finally yielded results on the Marina. It thanked the civic body for procuring four beach wheelchairs for Marina.
“However, Accessible Marina Beach is only half begun. Supporting amenities and facilities such as accessible toilets, ocean ramp, trained assistants at the ‘May I Help You’ disability assistance booth linked with a maintenance contractor, portable beach mats, amphibious wheelchairs with seat belts, CRZ-compliant container for beach wheelchairs, and life jackets are needed,” it said.
Besides, MobiMats, parking and crossing floor marking, smart pole with CCTV, multimodal communication, safety flags, disability-specific lifeguard training, scoop stretcher, other retrofits from drinking water to first aid booths to other amenities, tactile guidance from closest public transport, removing blocking bollards and accessible tourism tie-in with surrounding accessible landmarks will perfectly complete the package, the Alliance felt.