TN govt should have ensured Kilambakkam bus terminus was disabled-friendly before construction: HC

Noting that it is now 'mandatory in every building to have disabled friendly access facilities', the CJ stressed that such facilities should have already been provided in the bus terminus.
Kilambakkam bus terminus (File photo)
Kilambakkam bus terminus (File photo)

CHENNAI:  The Madras High Court noted that the Tamil Nadu government should have taken necessary steps to make the Kilambakkam bus terminus disabled-friendly. 

Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala made the statement when a petition filed by the disability rights activist Vaishnavi Jayakumar came up for hearing.

The Additional Advocate General (AAG) J Ravindran told the court that the exercise of access audit is yet to be completed; and once it is completed, the report will be shared with the petitioner.

Directing Ravindran to share a copy of the report as soon as it is ready, the CJ said the petitioner can submit her suggestions to the government in this regard.

He noted the government has informed that steps have been taken to make the terminus disabled-friendly. Noting that it is now 'mandatory in every building to have disabled friendly access facilities', the CJ stressed that such facilities should have already been provided in the bus terminus. 

“This has to be done before starting the construction,” he said. The court adjourned the petition to January 24 for further hearing.

Vaishnavi Jayakumar had sought the court to restrain the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) from issuing a completion certificate to the bus terminus without being certified as compliant with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and the 2017 Rules by an empanelled access audit agency.

She also wanted the court to issue directions to conduct a detailed accessibility audit of the terminus through an empanelled access audit agency as it is not in compliance with the Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India, 2021.

Jayakumar noted that the terminus was found slippery, there was reflective flooring without adequate contrast, absence of even a single toilet enabling bilateral wheelchair transfer onto the commode, the entire first floor does not have tactile flooring or warning and no dropped kerb (lowered areas of pavement) for wheelchair users to get onto the bus bay tarmac from the elevated seating area.

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