Sensitisation on treating the differently-abled should be made mandatory for the drivers and conductors.

Alleging that the differently-abled are not treated courteously by drivers and conductors of the buses operated by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC), a few representatives submitted a petition to Collector M. Karunagaran here on Monday.

A few men and women led by K. Thiruvenkatasamy of Annur met the Collector and explained the way he was ‘abused’ by the conductor of a TNSTC bus when he travelled from Bhavani to Avanashi on July 27.

Mr. Samy boarded a bus (Salem to Coimbatore) at Bhavani after he was assured by the conductor, Karuppasamy, that there was a seat.

On boarding the bus, he found that the seat meant for the differently-abled was occupied by two passengers who did not have any disability. When Mr. Samy requested the conductor to intervene so that he could occupy that seat, the latter is said to have abused the former. “The conductor told me that only when a differently-abled person boards the bus at the terminus can he demand a seat. Otherwise he cannot. Also, he gave me a concession ticket for cancer patients because he was not able to get the code for differently-abled in his hand-held ticket vending machine,” Mr. Samy said.

The conductor is alleged to have said that Mr. Samy should not expect a seat as he was already travelling on concession. Mr. Samy appealed to the Collector to take action against the conductor.

Those who accompanied Mr. Samy shared similar experiences and added that they were sometimes not allowed to board local buses because they travelled using a pass.

Reiterating the point, M. Kamaraj, social worker in ‘Thiramai’, a movement working for the differently-abled, said that in the last two months there were at least six such cases of ‘abuse’ reported.

Himself a victim during many of his travels, Mr. Kamaraj said the differently-abled were treated with contempt by conductors and other passengers.

“There are four seats for the differently-abled and a one-third concession in the ticket. But both these privileges have to be demanded. Sensitisation on treating the differently-abled should be made mandatory for the drivers and conductors. We are made to feel ashamed because of our condition, which we do not deserve,” he said.

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