This Article is From Feb 28, 2015

VIP Culture Hurts This Elderly Couple at Udaipur Airport

The VIP Lounge at the Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur.


NDTV has been campaigning against the VIP culture in the country - a culture that separates the ordinary man from the person in a position of power, but when a 67-year-old wheelchair patient is denied entry into the VIP lounge at an airport, it's a matter of concern for everyone.

Murli Mehta and his wife Bharati reached the Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur a few hours before their flight's scheduled departure to Mumbai, but were denied access to the VIP lounge which is barely used.

"These facilities should not be for important people, they should be for importance needing people. People who are senior citizens, differently abled, sick people, pregnant women need this. Public money has gone into this and it is for us," said Mr Mehta, adding that it is also a matter of self-esteem for people suffering from disabilities.

His wife Bharati is differently-abled, and needs help getting around.

"It's difficult taking her around. Crowded places, bad roads and no wheelchair ramps make it very difficult for people like her," said Veda, Mrs Mehta's domestic help.

When asked, airport authorities told the family that they were sorry but could not help as the lounge was only for VIPs.

It's a culture that puts the basic values of equality and indiscrimination at stake and one that has penetrated genders and ages.

"I was waiting at the bus stop for my bus and because there was a VIP coming they had delayed all the services and everyone got late for work. They had cleaned the roads too and that's great but I'd really wish they would do it for ordinary citizens because we pay taxes for the same," said Trinolda, a student of St Xavier's college.

"They should let ambulances, fire brigades and police vehicles through rather than hold up vehicles for some VIP," Sherwin, another student said.