Sunday, 16 November 2014
Riding with a spoke in the wheel - Chennai
Owning an automobile continues to be a challenge for a disabled person in the State, notwithstanding a transport department order in August that allows registration of any kind of retrofitted two-wheeler for people with disabilities.
According to the notification, since there are no State-authorised workshops for retrofitting vehicles, those who want to drive such a vehicle would have to get a fitness certificate from the district disability welfare officer.
Before registration, the vehicle will be inspected by the registration and additional registration officer for ease of use and safety. A driving licence would also have to be issued to the owner.
Until this order, only retrofitted two-wheelers certified by the Automobile Research Association of India, manufactured by TVS, were registered.
While this order addresses a long-pending demand, there are obstacles to its implementation, say activists.
S. Namburajan, State secretary of the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Type of Differently Abled and Caregivers, said, “There was very little publicity given for the notification; so, many people with retrofitted vehicles have not registered them.”
So far, few people have managed to obtain a driving licence for their retrofitted three-wheelers or cars.
“Even now, not all transport officials are willing to issue licences. Before issuing the order, a consultation should have been held with disability groups to identify the problems they face with registration and issuing of licences,” he said.
Insurance is another problem, according to D. Gnana Bharathi, president of the Spinal Injured Persons Association. He has been riding a self-designed, modified two-wheeler that allows him to sit in his wheelchair and drive. “Many persons with disabilities design vehicles to suit their needs. Insurance companies are reluctant to issue coverage since they do not know how to classify them. Without insurance, the RTO is unwilling to register the vehicles,” Mr. Bharathi said.
Source : The Hindu , 10th Nov 2014