Friday, February 10, 2012

SELAYANG: Disabled Hindu devotees are sore that a promised cable car to the summit of Batu Caves has been shelved to 2013, preventing them from fully taking part in Thaipusam celebrations this year.

“There have been thousands of disabled Hindu devotees who have missed going to the top (of the cave) for prayers and devotions,” said Damai Disabled Person’s Association president V Murugeswaran in a press statement last Saturday.
He pointed out that the temple committee operated a cable car service to the top of the limestone cave some 20 years ago, but it was abandoned after it proved too costly to repair and maintain.

Murugeswaran is calling on Putrajaya to keep to the revised 2013 schedule after it was announced that the initial deadline this year could not be met.

In early 2011, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple management and Damodar Ropeways and Constructions Pty Ltd inked a Memorandum of Understanding to set up the 250-metre cable car service at a cost of RM10 million. The MoU signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak then.

Murugeswaran said devotees had waited in vain for the cable to be started this year. “Looks like 2012 was an empty promise,” he said.

However, he said devotees had not given up hope that next year will see the cable car project completed.
“We will wait. We want the cable car for 2013,” the wheelchair bound non-governmental leader said in a telephone interview.

He added that Thaipusam looked bleak for the handicapped as they could not fully take part in the religious festival due to the lack of disabled facilities in Batu Caves.

He took the temple committee to task for failing to heed the recommendations from disabled groups when major renovations were undertaken in January last year.

“We wrote in with engineering plans to ask for ramps, wider toilet cubicles and other things to be incorporated in the renovations,” he said.

Murugeswaran also claimed to have received the brush-off from committee members when he requested for a site visit in the middle of 2011.

He said Damai had successfully engaged various ministries and local governments in providing input on constructing disabled friendly facilities.

He added that it was not too late for the temple committee to seek the advice of Damai and build disabled friendly facilities in Batu Caves.

“Imagine being left out of the chance to carry out religious obligations due to these needless barriers,” he said.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hindu temples deny disabled people entry

How long more the disabled need to surfer this type of discrimination. In Malaysia Hindu temples has long way to go !!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012



A COMPANY from India has been granted the development order for a cable car system in Batu Caves. The project, a joint venture between Damodar Ropeways, a Calcutta-based company, and the Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam temple committee, will take off in a month or two.

The long and steep climb of 272 steps to the Sri Subramania Swamy to the shrine will no longer be a problem for the elderly and disabled

The service caters for the elderly and the disabled, who cannot climb the 272 steps leading to the hilltop Sri Subramania Swamy temple.

Temple committee chairman Datuk R. Nadarajah said the RM10 million project was fully sponsored by Damodar Ropeways and would be completed in time for Thaipusam next year.

The cars would run from the cave temple complex car park on a 150m cable. However, the number of cars was still undecided.

"There are several technical conditions and guidelines to meet. But initial soil testing, geological surveys and other technical aspects have been covered. We have ongoing meetings with the company to discuss project updates," he said.

Meanwhile, for many of the elderly and disabled in the Hindu community, the cable car service was the answer to their prayers.

"I am getting older and can no longer take the crowd. There is a lot of pushing and shoving on the walk up the stairs during Thaipusam. The heat also makes it unbearable," said G. Sivanes, a 55-year-old diabetic patient who also suffers from hypertension.

"The cable car would also help the disabled folk and people like my 70-year-old mother, who are too weak to climb the stairs. She will be happy to be able to go up again after 15 years.

Photography enthusiast Joseph Jeremiah, 22, also welcomed the move. He said shutterbugs would be able to take pictures from new angles.

"It also gives me a better view of what is going on so I get better ideas for my pictures," he said, adding the cave temple complex was a great setting for pictures."

An appeal from disabled Hindus

Posted on 6 February 2012 - 05:12am

HINDUS will be celebrating Thaipusam tomorrow. The manifestation of the festival is best witnessed at Batu Caves. However, there are thousands of disabled Hindu devotees who never had the opportunity to witness the celebrations in Batu Caves.

The Damai Disabled Persons Association had on various occasions highlighted the plight of the disabled to the temple management, authorities, ministers, non-governmental organisations and the public.

We were informed that the temple was undergoing renovation and upgrading work. Damai had approached the temple management to request it to include some basic facilities like a funicular train, toilets for the disabled and reserved parking lots.

However, until today we have only seen a ramp built to provide access to the toilet. Unfortunately, the design of the ramp is unsuitable for wheelchair users and poses a danger.

The effort to revive the funicular train dates back to 2007, when the Tourism Ministry was told to conduct a study on the old cable railway tracks next to the staircase.

Unfortunately, nothing transpired after that and many Thaipusams have come and gone.

V. Murugeswaran

Damai Disabled Persons Association