The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has announced on Monday that it has notified amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules for providing divyang-friendly features in buses.
As per a statement issued by the ministry, the amendment provides for priority seats, signs, securing of crutches/canes/walkers, handrail/stanchions, controls at priority seats and wheelchair entry/housing/locking arrangement for a wheelchair for the divyangjan (differently abled). “Such facilities for differently abled passengers or passengers with reduced mobility will be checked and ensured at the time of fitness inspection for buses,” the statement reads. .
The amendment will come into force on March 1, 2020.
The draft rules to amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 were published vide notification number G.S.R 523(E), dated July 24, 2019, inviting objections and suggestions from all persons likely to be affected thereby. The notification has been issued after duly considering the objections and suggestions received from the public in respect of the said draft rules, the ministry added.
In 2016, MoRTH had directed all the States in the country to have 10 percent of the total bus fleets to be equipped with disabled friendly features.
Even as State governments went slow on the initiative, a public interest litigation was filed in November 2018 in the Madras High Court seeking direction for the State to bring differently abled friendly buses in government and private buses.