[AI] "The disabled cannot be denied air passage"

Rajesh Asudani rajeshasudani at rbi.org.in
Thu Aug 16 03:32:18 EDT 2007


Some such exercise of inviting comments was undertaken, if I remember 
correctly, last year by DGCA.

So, how many repetitions would make them promulgate a policy wanting in all 
requisites of equal/equitable  treatment in air travel for the disabled?

Rajesh

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Subramani L" <lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 12:23 PM
Subject: Re: [AI] "The disabled cannot be denied air passage"


Pasting below a related message I received from our friend Mahesh of CBR 
forum in Bangalore:

15th Aug 2007

Dear Friends,

Greetings,

I would like to bring to you kind notice that I was alerted today by Rajiv, 
Disability Legislation Unit, South,  about Directorate General of Civil 
Aviation,
Govt. of India seeking Comments for its "Draft Civil Aviation Requirements 
(CAR) Section 3 Series 'M' Part I - Carriage of Physically Challenged 
Passengers
by Air ".

(Click on this following link to view the policy
http://www.dgca.nic.in/misc/draft%20cars/car_notice9.htm)

Hold your breath, your comments has to reach DGCA by the 15th of Aug (that 
is today!!!) by email to
rpsahi at dgca.nic.in
or by post to "Shri R. P. Sahi, Joint Director General, Office of the 
Director General of Civil Aviation, Opp. Safdarjung Airport, Aurobindo Marg, 
New Delhi
- 110 003

>From the DGCA website
http://www.dgca.nic.in/
it is not clear when they have posted this policy, but the policy is dated 
27th Jul 2007. This means that DGCA is expecting the comments within 15 days
on the most important policy that will FOREVER affect the way persons with 
disabilities travel by Air across. This is TOTALLY UNFAIR!

What has DGCA done to seek the comments from persons with disabilities from 
across the country? Posting the draft policy on their website for a period 
of
15days and expecting comments is the right way.

We therefore appeal to each one of you to mail DGCA at the address given 
above and demand for the following:
List of 2 items
1. DGCA should hold hearing/ consultations with Persons with Disabilities 
from across the country before finalizing the Draft
2. DGCA should follow appropriate procedures/ timeframe before finalizing 
the policy - a policy that 'Protects and Promotes' the Rights of Persons 
with
Disabilities
list end

Based on cursory reading, the following are some of my observations:

List of 5 items
1. The draft DGCA policy does not acknowledge that persons with disabilities 
has the same Right to travel by Air like any other passengers - instead the
draft reads "Carriage of Physically Challenged Passengers"
2. The policy has a lot of derogatory statements - Example - "obvious 
abnormal physical or mental conditions observed and reported by airline 
personnel
or industry-associated persons" - what is the meaning of "abnormal"?
3. There is a lot of ambiguity in the use of terminology - Example - How can 
"Physically Challenged Passenger means a passenger with physical or mental
disability or incapacitation; or with a medical condition which requires 
individual attention or assistance" - This definition is not in any way 
connected
with the definition of 'Disability' that has been used in the Persons with 
Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995
4. The policy in its present form can be used to the airline to deny persons 
with disabilities from traveling by air independently. Section 4.3 of the 
policy
says "that a person with severe mobility, hearing and vision impairment 
should be accompanied by an escort who will be responsible for enplaning and 
deplaning"
This goes against the spirit of the PWD Act and is in violation of the 
"Rights of Persons with Disabilities to travel independently and make 
independent
choices"
5. At present all passengers (disabled or not) who us the assistance at the 
airport are seated on a chair with wheels that makes it impossible for 
persons
to propel independently - so all of them are severely disabled by design. 
What are the basis/ criteria to judge persons with 'severe' disability - who
decides?
list end

Subramani

-----Original Message-----
From: accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in 
[mailto:accessindia-bounces at accessindia.org.in] On Behalf Of Rajesh Asudani
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 11:18 AM
To: accessindia at accessindia.org.in
Subject: [AI] "The disabled cannot be denied air passage"

"The disabled cannot be denied air passage"

Ananth Krishnan

DGCA lays down requirements

CHENNAI: The Office of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has 
issued new civil aviation requirements for disabled passengers that are 
scheduled
to come into effect from Wednesday.

According to the new requirements, "no airline shall refuse to carry 
physically challenged or incapacitated persons or persons with 
disabilities," as long
as they "do not pose a threat" to the safety of other passengers or the 
evacuation procedure for the aircraft.

Airlines will also not be permitted to limit the "number or types" of 
disabled passengers on a particular flight, except "where required for 
operational
reasons." The procedure for limiting disabled passengers will also be 
documented. Airlines will now also have to run "sensitisation and developing 
awareness"
training programmes for staff.

Calls from rights groups

There have been increasing calls from rights groups for clearer guidelines 
on the transportation requirements of disabled passengers following the 
prevention
of Rajeev Rajan - a cerebral palsy patient and activist with Vidyasagar, a 
non-governmental organisation for the disabled - from boarding an Air Sahara
flight in Chennai on June 18 for failing to produce a medical certificate.

In an effort to clarify aviation requirements for disabled passengers, the 
DGCA issued a draft on July 25 on its website (http://dgca.nic.in), 
specifying
the new guidelines for airlines and "inviting comments" on the new 
recommendations. The DGCA said the new recommendations were to come into 
effect on August
15.

Dhanasekharan, a representative of Vidyasagar, told The Hindu that the 
August 15 deadline did not give disabled rights groups enough time to 
respond to
the recommendations. "We were shocked to discover that the deadline was to 
day [August 15]," Mr. Dhanasekharan said. "By just putting it on the DGCA 
website,
how can they expect all of us to be aware of it?"

"Extend deadline"

Vidyasagar has written to the DGCA asking it to extend the deadline for 
implementing the new requirements. "Before they put the requirements into 
effect,
the DGCA has to have a consultation with disabled groups as after all we are 
the stake-holders," Mr. Dhanasekharan said. "They clearly seem to not want
any suggestions from us."

"Ambiguous"

Mr. Dhanasekharan alleged the new requirements were "ambiguous." "They have 
used the word 'incapacitated' to define the disabled," he said. "What do 
they
mean by incapacitated? And what is 'severe' disability? All this needs to be 
clarified with the stake-holders before they are implemented."
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