Rajiv Rajan denied ambulift facility at airport
23 Aug 2011
CHENNAI : He helped frame the Civil Aviation Requirement guidelines for the differently-abled. And he himself became a victim of the failure of the Airports Authority of India and Air India in following them.
It was irony at its best when Rajiv Rajan, coordinator of Disability Legislation Unit, South, and general secretary of disabled people’s organisation, and four of his colleagues were denied an aerobridge or ambulift facility at the airport here.Rajan and others were returning from Delhi by flight (number AI 540), after attending a workshop of Disabled People’s International Asia Pacific Chapter. “We had asked for wheelchairs and seats in the front row, right after the business class.
It is their duty to provide the ambulifts as they had prior knowledge that we were on board the flight,” Rajan told Express.“It is a sheer violation of Carriage by Air of Persons with Disability or Persons with Reduced Disability Rule framed by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 2008 and which came into effect in 2009,” said A Dhanasekar, president of EKTHA and associate coordinator of Disabled Legislation Unit.As per rule 6.3 of the guidelines, every airport operator shall make provisions, including ambulifts, to enable disabled passengers to embark or disembark the aircraft without hassles.
“The airport authorities and airline said they will carry us. We climbed down in protest, except for a woman. Air India provided best services till now, but this event resulted in some bitterness,” Rajiv said.
Interestingly, the incident was repeated on Tuesday when Minakshi Balasubramanian and S S Smitha, members of the Disability Rights Alliance, Tamil Nadu, and colleagues of Rajiv, returning from New Delhi by flight number AI 429. “We were threatened to be evacuated. But then, after we protested for more than an hour, the authorities yielded and provided us with ambulift,” said Minakshi.
Meanwhile, an airline spokesman said the Air India was looking into the issue.