Challenging time for physically challengedhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/challenging-time-for-physically-challenged/

Challenging time for physically challenged

In June,Swapna Phade had bought a new car. She waited till Tuesday to register it under the special category of ‘invalid carriage’ as she has polio...

In June,Swapna Phade had bought a new car. She waited till Tuesday to register it under the special category of ‘invalid carriage’ as she has polio — her right leg has been affected — and her car is a modified one with auto clutch and hand control for break and accelerator. Having failed in her attempt to get the special status and with that a waiver in taxes to the tune of Rs 21,000,she has now got it registered as a regular LMV.

This is as per a new circular on May 29,where all such vehicles have to be approved in Delhi by the department of road transport. What was earlier a matter of a day or two for the physically challenged – for the tax waiver – will now take much more time.

For three months,her car registration process was in a limbo because of confusion over the road tax exemption. Phade wanted a clear exemption under the law; the RTO was in no position to oblige. Her case was even presented to the disability commissioner of the state,who she said prompted the RTO to act on her complaint.

“We will now send her papers to Delhi for clearance. The road tax can be refunded later,once the department in Delhi permits her to alter the vehicle. According to the new notification,the power of alteration of the vehicle is vested with the Central government,” said AA Khan,assistant RTO.

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However,her learner’s driving licence permits her to drive only “invalid carriages”. “Look at the law. They are giving me a learner’s licence for invalid carriages,but they can’t register my car in the same category. The process is so complicated for people like me,” she said.

According to Khan the RTO gets around three such applications from physically challenged people each month.

At least 200 physically challenged people already use modified cars on Pune roads,who have got their registration done in Pune itself. “This is a Tugluqian notification,designed to make life more difficult for the physically challenged. This will prolong the process,” said Madhav Vaze,who got a similarly modified car registered in Pune in 2008.

Himanshu Chitnis,owner of Automate India,that modified Phade’s car,said: “It used to take me a day to register the vehicle under “invalid category” till May. Officials in Delhi seem to assume that the physically challenged will buy only the second hand cars; the road tax in Delhi is much less than what it is in Maharashtra,hence they may not have not taken this aspect into consideration while coming out with the notification.”