Wed, 08 Jun 2022 08:28 AM IST
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: A controversy erupted at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in New Delhi on Monday after an Indian para swimmer alleged that he had to wait for more than an hour to get his wheelchair.
The Para swimmer, Mohammed Shams Aalam Shaikh, landed at the IGI Airport on Monday evening after returning from Australia's Melbourne following a 12-hour-long journey. Shaikh alleged that he was given an "uncomfortable" wheelchair after the landing despite providing all necessary information beforehand.
Describing the situation on his social media account, Shaikh said "wheelchairs at airports are big" which need to be pushed as he asked, "how can I ask someone to come to the washroom?"
The para swimmer said that he has faced similar issues in the past as well on domestic flights.
"Dear Air India i landed with AI 309 5 pm at Delhi Airport. I am a wheelchair user and I informed cabin crew that I need my wheelchair at gate. After an hour i am still waiting and not received my personal wheelchair. I need to use washroom no one supporting," he tweeted on Monday.
Later, in another tweet, Shaikh had urged officials to conduct a special program to make people learn how to handle Persons With Disabilities (PwDs).
"Thank you twitter family for your support. I received my wheelchair. However Air India kindly conduct sensitization program to handle PwD. If a PwD asking for his wheelchair don't force them to sit on your XL size uncomfortable wheelchair," he tweeted.
Following Shaikh's tweet, the Air India said that the para swimmer was provided with an aisle wheelchair "as per procedure from the aircraft as soon as the flight landed", adding that he was escorted by the airport personnel.
"Dear Mr Aalam, we're concerned to know about the experience. As checked, the aisle wheelchair was provided in the aircraft as per the procedure in International arrivals," Air India tweeted.
"We understand it took some time to deliver your personal wheelchair as it got delayed due to airport security reasons. We hope you would give us another opportunity to make things right," it said in another tweet.