Chennai airport’s disabled-friendly toilets inaccessible, say activists

There were no grab rails at one of the toilets, and the facilities are not maintained well, activists said

Toilets at the Chennai airport for the disabled are inaccessible and poorly maintained making it difficult to use them, say disability rights activists.

Rajiv Rajan, a disability rights activist who uses a wheelchair, recently travelled via the Chennai airport and attempted to use the toilet. He said the disabled-friendly toilet near gate 15 of the domestic terminal was inaccessible.

“The doors were wide enough and I could enter, but there were no grab rails for me to hold onto to actually use the toilet,” he said.Mr. Rajan noted that at the Delhi airport, the disabled-friendly toilets were usable and maintained well, when he visited the airport.

Smitha Sadasivan, a member of Disability Right Alliance (DRA) who has multiple sclerosis, went from Chennai to Kolkata last week. She said the disabled-friendly toilets are poorly maintained and lack hygiene. “The toilet was wet and dirty and I felt extremely uncomfortable using it. My body is easily susceptible to infections. So when I have to use such toilets, I get very scared. The authorities think not many use these toilets and hence, I think they are not cleaned periodically. There were no tissues available as well. I felt very bad,” she said.

Now that Airports Authority of India (AAI) has been building the new integrated terminal as part of phase II modernisation, Ms. Sadasivan said, they should take feedback from DRA at the time of construction itself, so that toilets are not inaccessible.

AAI officials said they have been taking measures to improve the maintenance of toilets at airport. “Now that we been informed that these toilets are inaccessible, we will make the necessary changes. We are in the process of renovating toilets in both terminals and we will try to rectify these issues as well,” an official said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:22:26 PM |

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