New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today asked Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to draw inspiration from London Tube to make its stations disabled friendly and “step free”.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar drew DMRC’s attention to how the London transport department has made access to and from its Tube stations “step free” and asked the Metro to try and replicate it here.
The court also noted that the transport department in London has ensured that there is step-free access to buses and cabs, while in 21st century Delhi, the government has not been able to provide 10,000 low-floor buses in the past 20 years.
The bench asked DMRC to “examine scheme in place in London and other parts of the world to ensure wheelchair access and methods to avoid stairs”.
On the issue of low-floor buses (LFBs), the court said apart from being more accessible to the disabled, such vehicles were also environment friendly.
“You cannot negotiate with the environment,” it said and told the Delhi government to acquire LFBs from London, if not available anywhere else, whatever be the cost.
The bench said that when the government does not look at expense where other wasteful expenditure was concerned, then cost should not be a concern while acquiring LFBs.
“We want you to create a level playing field in Delhi,” the court said.
The bench was hearing a PIL by 29-year old Nipun Malhotra, who suffers from locomotor disability, claiming that most public facilities in the national capital were not disabled friendly.
In the petition filed through advocate Jai Dehadrai, Malhotra has sought directions to make the capital’s roads, government offices and public transport friendly for the disabled people.
On the issue of making all the structures in the national capital disabled friendly, the Delhi government, Centre, DDA and other municipal bodies told the court that they have carried out or are in the process of carrying out an audit of how disabled friendly their respective buildings are.
The court told the authorities to expeditiously take steps to remove the deficiencies revealed by the audits and file their respective status reports before the next date of hearing on August 21.
It also asked them to train each and everyone of their officials to ensure they are sensitive to the needs of disabled persons.
The court asked the authorities to place their training schedules before it and to upload the same on their websites.