CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the state government to ensure that the bus termini under construction at Koothambakkam, Venpakkam, Varadarajapuram and Mamallapuram are disabled-friendly. The first bench of Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy issued the direction while disposing of petitions filed by disabled rights activist Vaishnavi Jayakumar seeking orders to make the Kilambakkam bus terminus accessible to people with disabilities (PwD).
“Naturally, the four bus stands will have to be constructed in compliance with the Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India- 2021, and the first respondent shall take necessary steps while issuing the tender notice,” the bench said in the order. It further stated the court would appreciate it if the ‘Access Auditors’ would undertake periodical inspection during the construction at the bus stands and make necessary suggestions.
Referring to the prayer for retrofitting the Kilambakkam terminus with PwD-friendly features, the bench said the rework must be done in compliance with the harmonised guidelines and access audit report. The Kilambakkam audit report is on record and is available with the first respondent.
The counsel for the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority submitted that as many as 17 deficiencies were pointed out in the audit report and work orders were issued for rectifying seven of them while work orders for the remaining 10 would be issued in two months. However, the petitioner’s counsel stressed that the work orders should specify the exact nature of the works to be carried out in tune with Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India.