Electric golf cart improves accessibility to elderly at Government Botanical Garden in Ooty
The Department of Horticulture and Plantation Crops that manages the Government Botanical Garden in Udhagamandalam has introduced an electric golf cart to help the elderly and persons with disabilities to enjoy the Nilgiris’ most famous tourist location.
The cart, which cost around ₹7 lakh, can be used by visitors at an additional cost of ₹30 per person, said Ms. Sibila Mary, Deputy Director of the Horticulture Department (Nilgiris district).
“The electric cart is proving to be very popular, especially as it means that older visitors and visitors who have disabilities are able to freely access most parts of the garden,” said Ms. Sibila Mary.
However, the cart is not used every day, but only during the weekends and during holidays when tourist footfall into the garden is very high, said officials. They said the cart’s battery runs out quickly, due to the terrain, while it needs to be charged for almost 12 hours for it to be run throughout the next day.
S. Giriraj, a 70-year-old visitor to the garden, who made use of the cart on Sunday, said he was visiting the district along with members of his family. “I did not intend on visiting the garden until the rest of my family, who visited the garden on Saturday, noticed that there was an electric cart which I could use,” he said.
G. Janardhanan, president of the Ooty Public Awareness Association, said the introduction of the electric cart was a welcome move to ensure accessibility of the Garden for the elderly and for people living with disabilities. He said the government should look into how more public spaces in the Nilgiris could be made more accessible for people with limited mobility.
“There are other major parks, such as the Sims Park in Coonoor, as well as the Ooty lake and Boat House and Pykara Lake, where such initiatives could prove to be beneficial,” said Mr. Janardhanan, adding that the carts should also be available for use at all times.
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