For the first time, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will distribute ‘Smart Cane’, a handle-like device that can be attached to the white cane normally used by the visually challenged under a welfare scheme.
The welfare department of the civic body will provide smart cane to 943 visually impaired beneficiaries in the city.
Speaking to The Hindu, a senior BBMP official said, “This is the first time such an initiative has been taken up by the welfare department to provide a smart cane to visually impaired persons in the city free of cost. This unique scheme will help blind people who are from poor backgrounds who cannot afford such smart canes.”
According to officials, the smart cane will be foldable and is capable of detecting obstacles in front. “The detection range of the sensor is up to 3 metres and users have the option to reduce the detection range with help of a switch. Users also can adjust the angle sensor according to the height of the user,” officials explained.
The smart canes will be provided to beneficiaries who have registered for this scheme at the welfare department. The officials said that the smart cane is capable of conveying information about the obstacle distance with at least three different patterns of vibrations that vary with distance. “The smart cane is built in a rechargeable battery with 8 hours of use on a single charge. The sensor is detachable and it can be removed from the cane. The manufacturer of the product will give a 36 months warranty,” the official added.
Schemes to restart
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, most welfare schemes were on hold and the funds were all diverted for COVID-19 management. Now, the BBMP is clearing such welfare schemes by approving files, officials informed. “No welfare scheme has been implemented since 2020. The schemes were all put on the backburner on account of the pandemic. Available funds were all diverted for COVID-19 management,” BBMP’s senior officials said.
Barring a few schemes, such as reimbursement of school fees of children of pourakarmikas and ‘Onti Maney’, others such as wheelchairs for the disabled, distribution of sewing machines, laptops and tabs, and self-help programmes for women and transgender persons have not been implemented. The officials added that such welfare schemes will be implemented soon.
Apart from the smart cane, the BBMP will also provide laptops to blind people under welfare schemes.