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Another meeting at Ministry of Civil Aviation, with no solution in sight

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: The Ministry of Civil Aviation (M.O.C.A.) held another meeting with the stakeholders on the issue of violation of rights of passengers with disabilities on April 10, taking forward the issues that were discussed in the first meeting held by M.O.C.A. on March 12 and by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (D.G.C.A.) on March 20.

One of the major issues discussed was with respect to grievance redressal, implementation and powers of D.G.C.A. to investigate and deal with complaints. At present, D.G.C.A. has no powers under the C.A.R. or the Aircraft Act/Rules to deal with complaints of any kind. D.G.C.A./M.O.C.A. are only now thinking of setting up an Ombudsman to address passenger related complaints.

Lalit Gupta, D.D.G., D.G.C.A. shared that a list of dos and don’ts for handling people with disabilities travelling by air is ready and has been circulated to the airlines “for their approval”.

When asked about the failure to implement the existing Civil Aviation Requirements (C.A.R.) on carriage of persons with disability and reduced mobility, Gupta said it was because of “non-penetration of information” and therefore it has been decided that airport managers will be trained.

There was extensive debate on the issue of who is responsible for assisting passengers with disabilities at the airport. At present the individual airlines are responsible, but the disability sector as well as G. Asok Kumar, Joint Secretary, M.O.C.A. are in favour of the airport authorities being made responsible for that.

The next meeting will now be held on May 1.