Braille signage will help visitors with vision disabilities

Asia-Pacific, February 13 2017

MYSURU, INDIA: Here is good news for people with vision disabilities. Thanks to the efforts of the authorities concerned, they will be spared of asking information about monuments in Karnataka as they can get it through braille and touch-and-feel way.

T Arun Raj, superintending archaeologist at Archaeological Survey of India (ASI, Bengaluru Circle), said that they, after the successful implementation of disabled-friendly initiative at Tipu Palace in Bengaluru, have planned to take up similar initiatives at other ancient monuments, including Somanathapura in Mysuru and Dariya Daulat in Srirangapatna.

In an effort to disseminate information to visitors with vision disabilities, ASI will put up signboards in braille, explaining the cultural and historical significance of structures at popular monuments in Karnataka. As a pilot project, it was implemented at Tipu Palace in Bengaluru which on October 2 last year. The project is the brainchild of Raj.

“People with vision disabilities visit many monuments frequently. But they have to rely on people with sight to read them out from information boards or hire tourist guides. After seeing their plight, I decided to come out with Braille signage and a special pathway for them. As a pilot project, it was taken up at Tipu Palace in Bengaluru. The pathway enables them to easily walk — and without assistance — all the way to the monument complex. People with vision disabilities can also touch and feel the monument which is not permitted for normal people. They are now happy, as earlier they could visit the monuments but not see anything. The new facility not only provide them information, but also gives them a great sense of involvement.” said Raj

“We will gradually put up signboards in ancient monuments which witness a good number of footfalls. Select monuments will have braille signage bearing information about them and special pathway. We are also planning to set up a replica of the monument, at the corner of each monument,” he said, adding that the feedback received from visitors on the facilities set up three months ago has been positive and encouraging. “Now, we are planning to implement the same Dariya Daulat in Srirangapatna, Somanathapura in Mysuru, Chitradurga fort and Halebid fort. Under ASI, there are 133 ancient monuments, while under the state archaeological department, there are 700 monuments. The state government should also take up more such disabled-friendly initiatives and help them understand more about monuments,” he added.

“Tourism minister Priyank Kharge, being interested in implementing such initiatives, has sought technical assistance from me. Apart from this, to implement disabled-friendly initiatives at 15 prominent monuments in Bengaluru South, I have proposed to the state government a project costing Rs 5 crore,” said Raj, who received an award from President Pranab Mukherjee on behalf of ASI during World Disabled Day on December 3.

Uday Kiran, renowned musician with vision disability and an assistant professor at University of Mysore Fine Arts College, said: “It’s a good initiative from ASI. Such facilities should be introduced at Mysuru Palace, KRS and Chamundi Hills as well. To know more about the places, we depend on people. Such initiatives are there in the US and the UK. It is nice to have them in our state. It will be good if the authorities also introduce maps of building as well.”

Source: Times of India

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