[AI] Widening access the European way

Subramani L lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in
Wed Aug 15 08:58:48 EDT 2007


Fine, but where is the name of the "1995 act"?

Subramani

-----Original Message-----
From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in
[mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Rajesh
Asudani
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 12:19 PM
To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
Subject: [AI] Widening access the European way



In a rare but welcome move, the hindu has published the editorial on
disability topic.

Widening access the European way 

The recent European Union Regulation forbidding airlines and tour
operators from denying travel for passengers with disabilities and
reduced mobility, besides
affirming the principle of anti-discrimination, also makes sound
business sense. Persons with restricted mobility, among whom are the
aged and those with
various temporary and permanent impairments, are said to make up about
10 per cent of the EU's population. The new rules are also a major
assurance that
peopl e with limited mobility can take advantage of the benefits that
have accrued from the EU's single market in air transport such as wider
choices of
lower fares, carriers, and destinations. Under the new regime, turning
down disabled passengers would be a violation except when it is
warranted by safety
and such an exception must be justified under the law. Through another
measure, effective July 2008, European airlines will be obliged to allow
carriage
of wheelchairs and guide-dogs free of charge. 

The rights and safety of passengers have received high priority in the
EU's transport policy in recent years and the aviation sector has been a
leader in
extending disabled-friendly facilities. However, instances of unequal
treatment have been reported from low-cost flight service providers,
where the pressures
of cost-competitiveness often undermine compliance with standard access
procedures. The new measure thus aims to ensure a more comprehensive
provision
of service and uniform application of the anti-discrimination across the
EU. In India, the 1995 law mandates equality of access to education,
employment,
and mobility for the disabled. In its effective implementation, public
awareness can improve and the deep-seated prejudices can be rooted out.
Except for
some exemplary judicial directives relating to the use of wheelchairs by
air passengers and access to public transport and educational
institutions, the
law remains by and large on paper. Among the lessons policy-makers can
learn from the European experience is that successful intervention in
the area of
disability is predicated upon the effectiveness of measures in other
spheres of public policy. The overall gains for the elderly, the
terminally ill, women
and children from measures to improve access for the disabled make the
case for proper enforcement of the law even stronger.
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