Sheefali Sharma, a 12-year-old visually challenged girl, loves to travel and explore things, especially old monuments which are spread over the Northeast, but unfortunately hasn’t been able to pursue her passion because of a lack of institutional support.
Sheefali is not the only one; there are many others like her. So, in order to make historical monuments ‘barrier-free’ for the differently- abled, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is in the process of taking up a number of steps.
‘We often come across people, who despite an abiding interest in exploring monuments and archaeological sites have failed to do so. Thus, ASI is planning to construct ramps as most monuments have a large number of stairs,’ said Milan Chauley, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Guwahati circle while speaking to ENe, ‘Besides, tactile paths or tactile objects will be displayed in different parts for creating a better environment for the visually-impaired,’ he further pointed out.
‘For the time being, we are starting off with a project at Ranghar and Kareng Ghar in Sivasagar district of Assam. However, we have already provided tactile objects in four sites- Baksanagar, Shyamsundar, Till (pilak) and Unakoti (all in Tripura)’.
It is to be mentioned here that ASI has recently released four guide books in Braille for the visually-challenged. Besides, toilets for the differently-abled have been constructed at Panbari mosque in Dhubri, Bamunihill in Tezpur and Pilak in Tripura.