Now, the differently-abled individuals can board and de-board the jeeps with ease via a ramp as they explore this national park.
Touted as the first tiger reserve across India to do so, Ranthambore National Park is now equipped to cater to differently-abled citizens. The introduction of ramp-enabled jeep safaris has resulted in this landmark achievement and these have been designed by Balendu Singh, former honorary wildlife warden. This innovation is the consequence of the notification released by the State Forest Department on 5 December 2020, which stated that all national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and zoos should be made friendly for differently-abled individuals.
Ramps & seatbelts added to secure wheelchairs
Differently-abled can take jeep safari rides in Ranthambore while sitting in their wheelchair, if they choose to, as the vehicles are now fully equipped to ensure their safety. The seats of the vehicles can be folded in to make space for wheelchairs and seatbelts have been fitted to secure the wheelchair-bound passenger. Further, with the help of an electric switch, the differently-abled individuals can board and de-board the vehicle with ease via a ramp.
Motivation behind developing this jeep
Balendu Singh, was a para-athlete who represented India in shooting competitions and often faced issues as not all facilities provided suited his needs. With this in mind, he was motivated to develop a vehicle that can be used by all, even if they have certain physical limitations. This facility will be available once Ranthambore National Park opens its doors to tourists after some improvement is noted in the pandemic situation.
The State Forest Department had also issued a notification in accordance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, on 5 December 2020. This notification stated that all national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and zoos should be made friendly for differently-abled individuals. In compliance with this order, the safari jeeps have been re-fitted.
Further, this notification mandates a provision for two people to guide and accompany the differently-abled person. This move has been welcomed by the respective community, for they have faced hardships in the past while embarking upon such physically demanding and arduous tours.