New Delhi: The government has constituted a committee to facilitate comfortable air travel for people with disabilities following recent incidents of discrimination faced by them at airports across the country.
"Civil Aviation Ministry has constituted a committee to look into the best practices in the world on dealing with air travel of persons with disabilities," Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment D Napoleon told Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.
He said his ministry has taken up the issue of sensitisation of commercial airline staff towards disabled people and the committee would study the existing international guidelines in this regard.
"The Committee would give suggestions for appropriate modification of civil aviation requirement and for improvement of designs of airlines, websites, accessories facilities, infrastructure, etc, specially meant to facilitate comfortable air travel for persons with disabilities," Napoleon said.
In February, 44-year-old Kolkata-based professor Jeeja Ghosh, who was suffering from cerebral palsy, was off-loaded from a SpiceJet flight. Close on the heels of the incident, another lady Anjlee Agarwal, suffering from muscular dystrophy, was harassed by Jet Airways personnel.
The government has also asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to include the issue of sensitising airport and airlines staff towards disabled people as one of the terms of references for the committee, constituted to study existing guidelines for carriage of persons with reduced mobility and disability, Napoleon said.
Replying to a question on survey to ascertain the numbers of differently-abled persons, the minister said, "The total number of persons with disabilities are 2.19 crore as per the Census 2001."