CHENNAI: Greater Chennai Corporation has repaired and extended the Marina Beach ramp that was damaged last November due to Cyclone Mandous.
The deck which was damaged has been removed now, and instead, a small single pathway has been placed for the differently abled to enter the beach. The pathway that was reconstructed earlier this year was retracted by 20 metres. The corporation has now extended it closer to the water'es edge upon requests by disability rights members.
The corporation had set up the 263-metre-long ramp at a cost of 1.15 crore using Brazilian wood and punched it into the mud using bolts. The ramp which begins on the beach side near Vivekananda House stops just 10 metres from the sea.
Sathish Kumar, a member of the disability rights alliance that is coordinating with the Greater Chennai Corporation offiicials concerned to make the Marina fully disabled friendly, said various corrective measure such as keeping the ramp free from non-disabled people is needed.
"People stand in the centre of the ramp and take selfies. They sit on the railings. This obstructs the carriageway for those coming in on wheelchairs and also damages the ramp," he said.
He added that disabled-friendly toilets are at least 200 metres from the ramp, and another request to set up speed- breakers on the service lanes too is yet to be fulfilled. "We also need more beach-friendly wheelchairs there. Presently, these are available only at the blue flag beaches," he added. "There's also an automatic rail mechanism that can take people into the sea. This can be set up as well," he said.
Deputy mayor Mahesh Kumar said the community members' requests will be looked into. "They are also privatising toilets to make them accessible and clean. More bins will be placed in the beach too," he added.