Taj Mahal — the monument of love – may soon become a dream come true destination for the physically challenged as the state government has proposed a provision for barrier-free access to them at the 17th century wonder.
For this, the handicapped welfare department of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government recently proposed to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) the construction of special ramps, leading to the main tomb, for the disabled.
The ASI response is awaited. The ramps — gentle slopes — will be constructed in such a manner that they do not mar the beauty of the Taj.
"The department is aware of the fact that the new construction should not be an eyesore. Agra district magistrate Ajay Kumar Chauhan was asked to prepare a report, with the help of experts, as to how the ramps could be made there. A copy of the report was sent to the ASI and let's hope there is no hurdle," said VN Garg, principal secretary, handicapped welfare.
According to Garg there is no reason for the ASI to block the clearance for the construction of the ramps.
"Article 14 of the Constitution of India guarantees the Right to Equality to all citizens. And a barrier-free environment and easy access to all buildings and monuments is mandatory. So I'm confident that the ramps will come up," he said.
Chauhan told HT that there were a few ramps on the Taj Mahal premises. "But there is nothing to help the physically challenged to go to the main structure. Since the monument is under the ASI, and the district administration cannot construct the ramps. The ASI has to do the needful," he explained.
Garg said that if they succeeded in achieving their mission then his department would go ahead with a similar proposal for other historical monuments in the state. "Taj, no doubt, is the most important structure and hence the department was pushing the case hard," he said.