Transport corps still indifferent to differently-abled

Transport corps still indifferent to differently-abled

A person putting in side wheelchair in bus as a Assembly election at Police ground in Mangaluru on Wednesday. -Photo/ Govindraj Javali

A year after the Union government told state road transport corporations (SRTUs) to make all bus stations and 25% of their buses accessible for differently-abled persons, the latest data shows that most of the corporations, including KSRTC and BMTC, have failed to meet the target.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (North) issued an advisory back in June 2018, listing out various steps to be taken up for achieving the targets set by the Union government's Accessible India Campaign.

The advisory had set March 2019 as the deadline for creating a barrier-free environment to facilitate independent and dignified life for such individuals. It advocated making all bus stops/terminals/ports and 25% of government-owned vehicles accessible to the physically challenged.

The corporations cut a sorry figure if one goes by the latest state-wise data on implementation. Of the 56 SRTUs in the country, only 14 meet the 25% target. None in Karnataka reached the mark, while four of eight in Maharashtra, one out of two in Kerala have succeeded in meeting the target.  

An official said BMTC's 18.7% and NWKRTC's 12.24% score was debatable. "Their score is dependent on providing infrastructure, but it has to be evaluated whether such facilities are accessible," he said.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation has cut a sorry figure, meeting just 4.27% of the target, though it has reserved two eats in ordinary (red) buses and provided ramp and wheelchair at major terminals. NEKRTC has also failed to make the cut.

Secretary to the chief minister Shivayogi Kalasad, who also holds charge of the transport department, said efforts were being made to comply with the directions in right earnest.

In Tamil Nadu, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation's 22.9% performance is belittled by the fact that seven SRTUs, including State Express TCL, remains at 0%.

Uttar Pradesh stands tall with six of its seven corporations making all their buses and terminals accessible to the differently-abled.

With the state corporations failing to meet the targets, the ministry has set new targets directing that all buses should be made accessible by providing a slope to board the vehicle as well as space for wheelchairs.

New guidelines

> Sufficient number of wheelchairs in all bus terminals

> Proper space, signage to indicate seats for differently-abled

> Adequate hand-rail and human assistance

> Audiovisual systems for visually and hearing challenged

> Emergency button provision near the seat of differently-abled

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