Air travel is set to become a bit easier for disabled people, if one goes by the draft guidelines that the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued on Tuesday.
For Aviation Sector, MoCA has prepared Draft Accessibility Standards and Guidelines for Persons with Disabilities as envisaged in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017.
— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) October 26, 2021
Here are some of the proposed guidelines:
• Airport operators must make special arrangements to facilitate screening of persons with special needs so that the process is carried out efficiently "keeping the dignity and privacy of the passenger in mind"
• During the screening of prosthetics, the airport security — which is handled by the Central Industrial Security Force at most of the airports — might use X-ray, explosive trace detection devices or visual checks according to their requirement
• The passenger — who has a prosthetic limb — will first pass through the door frame metal detector and should then be taken to a private screening point and made to sit comfortably
• Prosthetic appliances that are covered in foam padding and in which the steel rod is not visible must undergo X-ray screening
• Flyers who have external devices including insulin pumps, hearing aids, cochlear implants, spinal stimulators, bone growth stimulators and ostomies will not have to disconnect them for X-ray screening
• Disabled flyers should inform the airline about their complete requirement 48 hours before the scheduled departure so that the carrier can make necessary arrangements
• If a passenger wants to check-in their wheelchair at the airport, the airline must ensure that the wheelchair is duly taxed and sent to the baggage make-up area with a service partner to avoid any damage
• Passengers should check with the airline on the specific requirements of bringing service animals on flights. A low floor coach or a ramp should be used for comfortable boarding or debarring of wheelchair users
• Airlines should ensure that disability awareness training is conducted for new hires and ensure periodic refreshers are conducted for all staff to reiterate policies and standard operating procedures on customer assistance with different types of disabilities
Why the change
The change comes on the heels of the video posted by actor and dancer Sudha Chandran last week. In her video, which has now gone viral, she narrated how she had to remove her prosthetic limb every time during a security check at any airport.
Sharing her video, the actor had written: "Totally hurt... each time going through this grill is very very hurting... hope my message reaches the state and central government authorities... and expecting a prompt action."
After the incident, the CISF issued an apology on social media. They promised that they will look into the matter and will “examine why the lady personnel concerned requested Ms. Sudhaa Chandran to remove the prosthetics.”
Responding to Sudha’s complaint where she also tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CISF wrote, “We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused to Ms. Sudhaa Chandran. As per protocol, prosthetics are to be removed for security checks only under exceptional circumstances.”
With inputs from agencies