Atlas boon for sightless students
www.telegraphindia.com/1050824/asp/calcutta/story_5142766.asp; Kolkata; August 24, 2005
After a successful trial in the Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys' School, the National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation is set to bring out a Braille atlas in Hindi. Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal will release the atlas on August 29 in Kolkata.
Copies used in the trial run were produced by an ordinary silkscreen printing machine. Braille printing machines will be used to mass-produce the sophisticated maps.
According to Prithvish Nag, director of the organisation, the atlas took two years of research. It is made of hardened plastic and fibre. The problem with the older Braille maps was that since they were printed on metal, the users were susceptible to nicks and cuts, said Nag. The new maps are handy, light and do not pose risks of injury.
"The development of the Braille maps is an achievement in the field of education for visually impaired students. The new format will enable blind users to make out the topography of the various regions more easily. The atlas will, thus, make their lessons enjoyable," said Nag.
A sample of the atlas will be distributed free to all blind schools in the city. More copies will be provided on request, explained officials of the organisation. The atlas will also be sent to Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
"Our endeavour to produce better maps in Braille will continue. The publication of the atlas is milestone. Hundreds of Braille maps can now be produced in a single day, thus catering to the huge demand among visually-impaired students all over India," signed off Nag.