Volume 3 Issue 24 - December 15, 2005

Madras H.C. directs C.M.T.C. not to buy new buses without ensuring their accessibility

D.N.I.S. News Network- The Madras High Court has directed the Chennai Metropolitan Transport Corporation (C.M.T.C.) not to order new buses for its fleet without making mandatory changes needed to make them disabled-friendly.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice A.P. Shah and Justice R. Banumathi gave the directive on a petition filed by Rajiv Rajan, a disabled person and Coordinator Disability Law Unit South,Vidya Sagar seeking to restrain the Corporation from acquiring new buses without inducting into the fleet, buses which were user friendly for disabled persons.

The petitioner cited the mandate provided under Section 44-45 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, pending disposal of his petition.

Rajan had drawn attention of the Chairman and Managing Director, Chennai Metropolitan Transport Corporation (C.M.T.C.), the importance of making bus stands, terminals and stops and disabled-friendly buses for the disabled on 4 November 2004.

The Chairman agreed to look into aspects like major bus terminuses with ramps to facilitate easy entry for disabled people into buses within a period of one year, to run five to six buses on all main routes with low floor and automatic lifts to help wheelchair users within a period of six months and a phase-to-phase modification of the entire fleet of buses within three years.

However, the petitioner came across various news items where it was stated the Corporation was acquiring new buses for their fleet and nowhere in the proposed acquisition was any user friendly bus for the disabled indicated. Till date, it was found the Government had not formulated rules for effective implementation of the Act.

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