Srinagar: Travel for persons with disabilities is going to get easier at the Srinagar International Airport as the Airports Authority of India ( AAI) has recently set-up a help desk where assistance with sign language is made available for persons with communication barriers.
The separate help desk with staff trained in sign language has been provided for persons having communication barriers so that they don't get abandoned or lost thus wasting their travel time.
It may be mentioned that this step comes in the wake of a meeting that was held on January 4 this year for formation of local committee issue related to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Apart from Airport officials, local NGOs and all stakeholders of the airport had taken a part in the meeting.
As per the minutes of the meeting, the stakeholders had stressed that there should be a separate reserved, designated gate towards airport from which passengers with disability can enter the airport at the drop gate and departure entry gates.
“There should be a reserved X-Ray counter where luggage of passengers with disabilities could be checked. The assistance or support for passengers having no escort should be available and they should take the baggage to machines and accommodate back in vehicles. At the drop gate there should be parking slot available where persons with disabilities can board and de-board the vehicles as per their requirement. Sometimes cerebral palsy and wheelchair users take time in de-boarding their vehicles. The parking slots should be painted and evident disability logo should be available there” reads the minutes of the meeting.
The security representative at all points should be aware about the benefits, relaxations and how to deal with persons with disabilities while the tables and desks should be of dimensions as required by wheelchair passenger’s who are short in height.
The tables should accommodate the front portion of wheelchair so that distance is not too much between the guest agent on the desk and wheelchair user guest, said the recommendations.
“Earmarked check-in counters with lower heights for ease of interaction between wheelchair bound passenger and check-in staff should be provided. Almost no charging points and switches are accessible to guests with disabilities. All waiting halls including VIP lounge should consist of accessible switch boards and charging points,” read the recommendations of the meeting.
It said the visually-impaired persons should be assisted and all material should be available in audio format so that they can access their ticket info boarding pass info through their mobile phones. “The cabin wheelchairs should be available in bulk and persons having mobility issues should be allowed to use their own wheelchairs if they feel uneasy on airline wheelchairs. Choice should be given in these circumstances,” read the minutes.