Sunday, June 3, 2012

Disabled Rights Group quits civil aviation panel


NEW DELHI, June 1, 2012
Special Correspondent

The Disabled Rights Group on Thursday disassociated itself from the Civil Aviation Ministry's committee that is looking into the problems faced by the differently-abled or persons with reduced mobility, saying it did not agree with the process the panel was following.

The committee was set up two months ago to review guidelines for differently-abled flyers and offer suggestions for improving facilities to make their travel convenient.

The DRG said the Ministry failed to take action against the erring airline operators — which are also part of the panel — that had violated guidelines repeatedly.

While it was important to review the guidelines, the Ministry not taking some immediate steps, even if small, to implement the existing rules to stop ground-level harassment “seems like buying time and pacifying the sector's anger. If we are to wait till the regulation is revised by the committee and then accepted by the Ministry to get any ground level justice, then it may take a lifetime,” DRG member Shivani Gupta wrote to the panel.

Since the constitution of the committee, two instances have been reported of harrowing experience suffered by Javed Abidi, DRG Convener, and Shuaib Chalklen, Special Rapporteur on Disability with the U.N. “Both these cases happened with IndioGo, one of our committee members. If being part of this committee is so meaningless, then why have the committee?”

The DRG said the committee had listed issues that encountered non-compliance such as who was responsible for assisting disabled passengers, and lack of an adequate complaining mechanism. “But these are issues already known to the Ministry that you need to tackle in collaboration with the airlines internally, then why is time being wasted to get a report out of the committee when these matters can and will finally be resolved through internal discussions...?”