Make ramps at beaches a permanent feature’

CHENNAI

‘Make ramps at beaches a permanent feature’

Legal CorrespondentCHENNAI 11 DECEMBER 2019 01:10 ISTUPDATED: 11 DECEMBER 2019 01:10 IST

Will help physically challenged: petitioner

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court, seeking a direction to the State government to create permanent ramps at all beaches and sea shores across the State, for the benefit of the physically challenged.

The petitioner, K. Kesavan, 41, a Chennai- based lawyer, relied upon a news report published in The Hindu last December, when the Greater Chennai Corporation and the city police laid a temporary ramp down the Marina beach.

The wooden ramp, wrapped with a red carpet, was laid on December 3, the International Day of Disabled Persons, to enable free movement of wheelchairs to the waterfront. The litigant said a similar ramp was laid this year too.

The petitioner did not want such activity to remain just a symbolic act of recognising the rights of the physically challenged, and stressed on the need to make it permanent.

The advocate pointed out how the news report had vividly captured the mood of physically challenged children, as well as adults on December 3, 2018, when they were able to access the waterfront, and extracted a quote of a child, who had, in joy, shrieked: “My feet are wet!”

Further incorporating many other excerpts from the news report, the litigant said most physically challenged people had expressed their desire for permanent ramps with railings at all beaches, after complying with the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) norms.

When the PIL petition was listed for hearing before a Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and P. Velmurugan, the judges said the petitioner ought to have given enough time for government authorities as well as Corporation officials to act upon his representations. They pointed out that the petitioner had made representations on December 4 and filed the case on December 6. But since the object of the case was laudable, the judges directed the Corporation counsel to obtain instructions within a week.

The judges wanted to know whether CRZ norms would permit laying of permanent ramps and whether the Corporation would be able to maintain the ramps well, without them getting misused or being subject to the vagaries of nature.

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