May 29, 2007

India Leading the Way on Accessibility to World Heritage Sites?

It would certainly be a precedent-setting development if India were to successfully follow through on the proposal of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) proposal below brought to our attention today by C. Mahesh. Success will be defined as third-party verification that they have designed solutions retaining the historical integrity of the sites through application of the seven principles of Universal Design - not a minimalist commitment to simply not violating building accessibility codes.

We look forward to photos from Mahesh:

ASI plans more ramps at monuments

NEW DELHI: In a bid to make Capital's heritage more disabled-friendly, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has started implementation of a plan to build more ramps and wheelchair space for visitors with disabilities.

The plan - which has already started off at the Qutab Minar complex and nearing completion - will soon follow at other monuments too.

Archaeological Survey of India director-general C Babu Rajeev said: "We have already started working on implementing our plan to make the Qutab complex more accessible for disabled visitors. After this, we will follow up on other ticketed monuments also."

The planks used at the Qutab complex are based on a list of recommendations made by Non Government Organisation, Svayam.

These planks will be made of wood and not steel as was considered earlier.

"We decided not to go with planks made of steel as those would get very hot in the summer and would also prove slippery for visitors on a wheelchair,"said an Archaeological Survey of India official.

NGO Svayam - an initiative of Sminu Jindal Charitable Trust - has also made recommendations like making more space between metallic rails to maintain queues, construct instructional signages to international standards and in Braille, chisel the uneven edges of the stone flooring to increase mobility of visitors on a wheelchair etc.

Some monuments like Purana Qila already have facilities to help disabled visitors. Humayun's Tomb, which is also partially friendly for the disabled, is also on the ASI's list to be upgraded in the coming weeks.


Readings on Indian heritage preservation legislation:

Posted by rollingrains at May 29, 2007 04:31 PM