The physically challenged in Chennai can integrate in mainstream society and the environment a lot easier as The Shakti Foundation acknowledges with gratitude and sincere thanks to the Tamil Nadu Government and the Home Secretary for their immense cooperation. We would like to put up on record the following. The Tamil Nadu Government’s response to the Foundation’s petition is acknowledged as Chennai goes user-friendly for the physically challenged in the following departments:
Working with the Secretariat
The representation by The Shakti Foundation at The Secretariat and participation in their meetings bore fruit in the following departments
The Chennai Traffic Police
The department demarcated 32 parking zones for the physically challenged bearing the wheelchair logo. Police have been sensitized to the issue of disability. The Chennai Traffic Police have issued stickers bearing the wheelchair logo which has been notarized by them to The Shakti Foundation. Anyone with a mobility problem can register with us and on producing a medical certificate will receive a sticker. This when pasted in their vehicle give them parking priority.
The Chennai Airport
Both the domestic and international terminals have separate counters for the physically challenged and by courteous and helpful staff, wheelchairs are also on need. There are special trailers and the wheelchair logo is prominently displayed. The domestic terminal has a large parking area demarcated for the physically challenged at the entrance of the airport. This facilitates easy access. It bears a wheelchair logo. Airline staff have also been sensitized to wheelchair bound passengers.
The Metropolitan Transport Department
Chennai has two redesigned buses on trial run in Chennai as of 3-10-2000. These buses have been designed by Ashok Leyland and are called low floor buses. The door width and height of the steps have been redesigned to facilitate easy entry of wheel chair bound persons.
The Central Railway Station
The Central Railway Station has two ramps, one at the front entrance and one at the Walltax Road entrance. There is also a separate counter for the physically challenged manned by courteous and helpful staff. This booth also houses wheelchairs. On an average, 11 wheelchairs are used everyday between the booth and the platform.
Chennai Corporation also has ramps in all their ten zonal offices. A detailed plan of interaction is in consideration, where the Chennai Corporation works with The Shakti Foundation to the issue of footpath and other issues related to the physically challenged persons integration in the environment.
Taj Coromandel is the first five star luxury hotel to work with The Shakti Foundation on the issue of accessibility. After coordinated planning, the hotel now has a ramp at the front entrance of the hotel, reserved car parking space has prominent signs bearing the wheelchair logo and the caption Reserved Parking for the Physically Challenged, First Table Reservation Priority at their four restaurants. This way, the wheelchair, crutches, visually impaired do not have to negotiate through all the tables. Two suites and toilets are redesigned as per the requirements of the physically challenged.
Don Bosco School has constructed a ramp at their side entrance. D G Vaishnav College Arumbakkam has a ramp now at their front entrance. Plans are underway to construct ramps in all their faculty blocks and to install lifts.
Two ramps have been constructed recently at the United States Consulate Building in Chennai. This is to make it barrier free and easily accessible to the physically challenged individuals. While a ramp in front of the building has been provided for use of the physically challenged consulate visitors, library users, invitees to our auditorium and other guests, another ramp has been constructed at the visa entrance to facilitate physically challenged visa seekers.
Public Awareness Documentary
Our crusade for ramps was initiated by a valuable public awareness documentary directed and shot for The Shakti Foundation by the noted film director, Mr.Rajiv Menon. It was processed by EFX and Prasad Productions. It features Anil Kumble in a voice message on behalf of the physically challenged for The Shakti Foundation. This is a 45 second documentary and has been screened on national television and various seminars and projects of The Shakti Foundation.
The Spencer Plaza Shopping Mall
Mangal Tirth Estate Limited is the first corporate house in Chennai to honour their commitment to The Shakti Foundation and build a ramp at the front entrance of The Spence Plaza shopping mall phase II. The phase III which was recently opened also has a ramp at the entrance to the atrium. Both the shopping malls are user friendly to the needs of the physically challenged.
The Madras Cricket Club
The club has a reserved car parking space for the physically challenged.
In a comprehensive survey the buildings that do have ramps in Chennai are:
- Spencer Plaza phase II
- Spencer Plaza phase III
- Shoppers Stop
- Central Station
- Ambedkar Memorial
- Alsa Mall
- The Dental Clinic
- The Tennis Stadium
- The American Consulate
- Taj Coromandel
- Beverley Hotel
- DG Vaishnav College
- Parry House
- The Madras Cricket Club