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Transport dept sensitises drivers about accessible transportation

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SHILLONG, June 11: In a significant step towards inclusive public transportation, an awareness programme was organised at Soso Tham Auditorium by the Transport Department on Tuesday.
The event, aimed at sensitising drivers about accessible transportation for persons with disabilities, was attended by numerous drivers, heads of various drivers’ associations, and several specially-abled individuals from various societies.
The programme had SB Marak, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) as the chief guest, and A Tyngkan, Assistant Commissioner of Transport, Meghalaya as the guest of honour.
In her address, Marak highlighted the recent measures taken to enhance public transport accessibility for persons with disabilities.
“A notification has been sent to all District Transport Officers (DTOs) mandating a 50% concession on fares for persons with disabilities in all public transport vehicles. This concession is contingent upon the presentation of a ‘unique disability card’,” she stated. She further highlighted the ongoing efforts to introduce ramps in public transport to facilitate easy access.
Tyngkan echoed the call for empathy and responsibility among drivers. “We urge drivers to understand and support our beloved friends with disabilities. Do not fear the police; you are performing a commendable service,” he remarked.
Elbina Wahlang, a teacher at the School and Centre for Hearing Handicapped Children, provided interpretation services during the event, ensuring effective communication for attendees with hearing impairments.
A guest speaker representing the drivers’ association candidly acknowledged past shortcomings.
“In the name of greed, we ignore our moral responsibilities,” he admitted, calling for a change in attitude among his peers.
The program also featured testimonies from individuals affected by transportation challenges. A representative from the Blind Lead Trust Organization shared her experiences of facing inequality and urged drivers, particularly bus conductors, to respect the two-seat reserved seating and 50 percent fare concessions for the specially-abled.
The event saw the participation of key figures such as the DTO of East Khasi Hills, the President of East Khasi Hills Local Taxi Welfare Association, and the President of Khasi Jaintia Tourist Maxi Cab Association, among others.
It may be mentioned that two NGO’s representing specially-abled individuals had approached the DGP in her first open-house to sensitise traffic police-men and drivers of public transportation.

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