Fully Disabled-Friendly Victoria Memorial From April

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Kolkata: The iconic Victoria Memorial will become fully user-friendly for persons with disabilities by April 2019 after the completion of the ongoing renovation work, curator of the museum, Jayanta Sengupta has said.

There will be signage in Braille for 50 prime exhibits, which will enable people with impairments to tour the galleries on their own, Sengupta told PTI on Monday, 3 December. The museum will also have an elevator for the disabled and senior citizens so that they can go through the galleries, which are located on the first floor, he said.

To a question, Sengupta said the few stairs just before the ground floor level will be removed to facilitate the physically challenged reach the floor on their own. The existing ramp will also be extended.

He said two battery-operated golf carts, earlier used by security personnel for patrolling the surrounding areas within the vast museum compound, were now being utilised by the disabled persons and the elderly to reach the museum from the gate.

“The golf carts are also being deployed for security patrolling at times, whenever needed, but we are principally keeping the vehicles ready to ferry those having problem in mobility to reach the main building. Using such carts are also environment-friendly,” he said.

Pointing out that the Victoria Memorial, which was formally opened to the public in 1921, did not have disabled-friendly features in those times, Sengupta commented: When Lord Curzon had decided to construct a grand building with a museum and garden, it did not have all these features.

The curator said, “while renovating and upgrading, we are taking into consideration the retro-fitting aspect. We have to keep the heritage part intact.” The Prince of Wales, later King George V, had laid the foundation stone of Victoria Memorial in the heart of the city on 4 January 1906, and it was opened to public in 1921.

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