Railways to identify problems faced by differently-abled - The New Indian Express

Railways to identify problems faced by differently-abled

Published: 04th February 2013 10:16 AM

Last Updated: 04th February 2013 10:16 AM

In an attempt to redress various problems faced by differently-abled people at Railway stations, the Thiruvananthapuram Division of the Railways has assigned Chakshumathi, an NGO working to redress problems faced by the section, to conduct a survey.

Caught in the bustle of a busy station, with nobody to aid them, the differently-abled face a host of challenges. The survey aims to cover all stations under the division and collect details of challenges faced by them.

V K Damodaran, chairman, Chakshumathi, said that the visually-challenged mostly travel alone and the biggest challenge that they face is in identifying coaches designated for them.

“Most of the trains stop at stations for less than five to ten minutes. Also, there are trains that halt only for three minutes. The visually-challenged gets hardly any time

to identify the coaches allocated for them. On certain occasions, it is through sheer dint of luck that the person is able to enter the train or avoid falling down. There needs to be a lot of sensitisation towards their needs,” he added. It has been recommended that the cars ear-marked for the differently-abled should be located near the engine of the train, so that it can be identified easily. Additionally, the presence of a guard would bring down the misuse of coaches reserved for the differently-abled.

“Whenever my wife and I have to travel, we have to deal with a lot of harassment. People refuse to give us way and we have to push through the crowd on certain days,” said Kumar, a passenger on board the ‘disabled car’ in the Ernakulam-Nizamudeen Express. He also complained that the RPF officials usually present in the coach have been called off duty. 

Chakshumathi plans to highlight on the need to set up more curb ramps and slopes in Railway stations. It has been pointed out that the yellow demarcation lines on Railway platforms meant to help the differently-abled are out of proportion at most places.

“As per Railway rules, the distance between the train and the yellow line on the platform should only be three feet,” said Noufal P, training officer, Chakshumathi.

Last week, as part of a special Railways initiative, Chakshumathi and Kanthari, another NGO, were involved in sensitising Railway staff members and passengers on the problems faced by the disabled.

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