Chennai

Disability rights activist charged ₹2,500 for wheelchair at Chennai airport

A US Bangla Airlines official said it always charged Rs. 2,500 for wheelchair. B. VELANKANNNI RAJ B. VELANKANNI RAJ

A US Bangla Airlines official said it always charged Rs. 2,500 for wheelchair. B. VELANKANNNI RAJ B. VELANKANNI RAJ | Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ B

A disability rights activist was in for a rude shock on Sunday afternoon when he was forced to pay ₹2,500 for a wheelchair at Chennai airport.

Around 12.30 p.m., Rajiv Ranjan, who is wheelchair-bound, was at the airport to take a flight from Chennai to Dhaka by US Bangla Airlines. When he reached out to the airline staff for a boarding pass, they told him he would have to pay ₹2,500 to have access to a wheelchair, he said.

“It feels like they are charging for my legs. I’m deeply hurt by this humiliation. I have been subjected to discrimination in the past too but this is the first time I was asked to pay for a wheelchair at the airport,” he said. After he vehemently opposed, the airline staff promised to refund the money later. Apart from this, he also had to fill an indemnity form. “This issue is not just about them asking a fee for the wheelchair, it is to do with how people like us, with disability, are treated,” he said.

An official of the US Bangla Airline said, they always charged ₹2,500 from passengers for providing wheelchairs.

Mr. Ranjan was also a part of the committee formed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for framing draft guidelines to make air travel easy for disabled persons. “This is a clear breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act,” he said.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation in one of the circulars has stated: “All assistive devices shall be provided without any extra cost to the persons with disability or reduced mobility within India. Once persons with disability or reduced mobility report at the airport with valid booking and intention to travel, the airline shall provide assistance to meet their particular needs and ensure their seamless travel from the departure terminal of the departing airport up to the aircraft and at the end of the journey from the aircraft to the arrival terminal exit, without any additional expenses.” It has also said, the airlines should not insist on any medical certificate or special forms from people with disability.  


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 9:09:02 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/disabled-person-charged-2500-for-wheelchair-at-airport/article65201406.ece