Chennai: The State Transport Department informed the Madras High Court that it would procure 242 low floor/differently-abled friendly buses for the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) between 2022 and 2024.
“The government to procure 644 new buses between 2022 and 2024. Of them, 242 are low floor differently-abled friendly buses which work out to 37 per cent procurement of buses for MTC. These low floor buses will have a manual ramp to facilitate the differently-abled persons to enter into the buses,” K Gopal, Principal Secretary, Transport department submitted before the first bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy.
The submission was made in a way complying with the earlier direction of the Madras HC directing the state to come out with a road map to provide a differently-abled friendly public transport system as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
In a counter-affidavit dated April 22, the transport department further clarified the road map was framed by a technical committee with members from various departments. “In these low floor buses, the height of the first step is 400 mm. About 60 per cent of the space within the bus will be of the same height. The door width is such that there is free movement of the wheelchair from the bus stop to the bus. Space for the wheelchair is provided inside the bus with necessary clamps,” the department noted.
The transport also submitted it has chosen 954 bus stops in the Chennai city where the Greater Chennai Corporation and other departments have to modify the bus stops making the low floor buses have easy access to the bus stops.
The matter was in connection with the batch of petitions filed by cross differently-abled rights activists including advocate Vaishnavi Jayakumar, Tamil Nadu state submitted an affidavit dated April 22 informing the court that the government is taking steps to establish a differently-abled friendly public transport system.
Advocate Vaishnavi Jayakumar challenged a GO issued by the state government in February 2021 to procure 10 per cent low floor buses and 25 per cent buses fitted with the lift facility or any other facility mode to provide easy access to the wheelchair-bound passengers. She said that the GO was against 42 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
The bench has posted the matter to June 21.