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Enabling access

Here is a portal for Delhiites looking for disabled-friendly places

Photo: Anu Pushkarna

Self-dependent A disabled person demonstrating the use of BRT system in New Delhi

A team of six people surveyed various places of the Capital, counting the stairs! Then finding out places where people can enjoy, eat, lodge, watch movies, move about, hassle-free, on their wheel chairs. They then uploaded all the information on a we b portal meant for people with disabilities looking for venues accessible to them.

The portal, launched late last month, is called www.free2wheel.co.in and is run by AccessAbility, a leading universal design consultancy that works closely with the travel and hospitality sector to promote accessible tourism for persons with disabilities in India. Shivani Gupta, co-founder, AccessAbility, says she has long been nurturing the idea since she met with a car accident in 1992 and found herself on a wheelchair, socially excluded. “Friends and family did not know where to take me out for lunch or even a movie. I missed the outings and did not want the same for other fellows. That is how ‘Free 2 Wheel’ came into being, and today it gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction. Now I keep asking myself, what next? I no more care for my disability,” says Shivani.

The listings

The portal lists over 1600 places of interest in Delhi and NCR, keeping in view the approaching Commonwealth Games and the expected inflow of both domestic and international tourists to Delhi. It provides an easy-to-use interface and a detailed overview of the status of wheelchair accessibility for each listed place. Also, it provides other relevant facts for travellers, including type of place (hotels, shopping malls, historical monuments, restaurants/bars/pubs, currency exchange counters, and tourist information centres, etc.), timings, estimated charges and parking information.

“The printed version is due to be out by this December. The interactive forum on the web, for its users to publish personal travelogues, upload travel pictures, write blogs, provide feedback and rate the places, is getting enthusiastic responses. People are free to share their experiences at various places: the problems they faced, the help from the staff others can expect, or just anything they feel would help a person on a wheelchair. It really counts what a disabled person has to say,” adds Shivani.

Similar travel information will soon be provided for other cities like Jaipur and Agra, promises Shivani.

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