NEW DELHI: In a move to make pilgrimages disabled- friendly, the government is considering a scheme to provide ‘end-to-end’ support to physically challenged tourists visiting religious sites.
Likely to be called ‘Sugam Teerth’, the scheme will be designed to help disabled tourists from the start to the end of a visit to a pilgrimage. A platform will be created for registration of individuals, which will set in motion dissemination of information about the person down to the religious site to be visited. While the bus station or the railway station where the tourist will disembark will have the support system to transport the person to the destination, it will also book rooms in hotels. The religious places will be equipped with infrastructure to help individuals go through with the prayers. Sources said 70% of physically challenged persons have hearing problem, while 10% are visually handicapped.
Keeping this data in view, the plan for erecting special infrastructure down the chain — like Braille for registration, tactile flooring (which have embossed tops to guide the visually challenged), audio tapes to recount history of the place or directions, helpers to aid performing religious duties, sign language interpreters and guides, as also ramps and wheelchairs —will be drawn up.
Though the initial discussion was for an elaborate scheme to make religious sites disabled friendly, the plan has since veered towards providing ‘end-to-end’ support.
Sources said the initial phase may only include around 22 sites. As the choice will be made according to footfalls, the sites covered will largely be Hindu temples, while Ajmer Sharif and Bodh Gaya could also heritage sites like Red Fort.