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D.R.G. condemns the non-serious attitude of Ministry of Civil Aviation

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Following Disabled Rights Groupís (D.R.G.) advocacy and the public outcry over the violation of the rights of persons with disabilities by airlines, the Ministry of Civil Aviation finally called a meeting of relevant stakeholders on March 12 in New Delhi. G. Asok Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation chaired the meeting and it was attended by representatives of D.R.G. and others from the disability sector, besides representatives of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (D.G.C.A.), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (B.C.A.S.) and Airports Authority of India (A.A.I.). Except for Jet Airways and Indigo who deputed their mid-level executives, none of the other airlines thought it fit to depute anyone on their behalf.

Disability activists flew in from different parts of the country hoping that repeated violations would be stemmed. However, their hopes were dashed as the Ministry and the D.G.C.A. skirted the issue of enforcement. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (M.S.J.E.) did not attend the meeting even though they were invited. Perhaps, they felt that these violations don't concern them, indicating the lack of seriousness in addressing the issues!

The outcome of an hour long meeting was to setup another Committee to look at the existing rules dealing with carriage of passengers and drafting new rules even though the existing rules are being breached everyday and no action is being taken.

D.R.G. condemned the non-serious attitude of the Civil Aviation Ministry, D.G.C.A., M.S.J.E. and the airlines. It called for a re-look at the highest level of the Civil Aviation Ministry of the blatant disregard of the rights of passengers with disabilities.