Railways not disabled-friendly, find PwDs

Published: 22nd September 2016 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2016 06:08 AM   |  A+A-

BHUBANESWAR: Cleanliness, security and basic amenities like drinking water are common issues linked to railway stations and trains. However, a spot audit of the City railway station and trains by a group of physically challenged volunteers on Wednesday exposed the lack of services and facilities for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

Railways.jpgAmong the physically challenged volunteers, three were wheelchair users, as many visually impaired, two mentally challenged and two speech and hearing impaired persons. They were escorted by 12 volunteers from City-based NGO Swabhimaan and others.

The height of the counters (ticket counter and enquiry counter) was found to be more than the Central Public Work Department (CPWD) norms. To move from one platform to another, one has to move at least a kilometre towards the dead end on a discontinuous path, Chief Executive, Swabhimaan Dr Shruti Mohapatra said.

The volunteers noted that the entrance of the reserved compartment is 800 mm whereas the CPWD guidelines mandate it between 900 and 1100 mm. There are three steps to enter the compartment for the disabled which is no less than making a mockery of a wheelchair user, a PwD volunteer said.

Toilets are unhygienic, cubical in shape and the measurement violate standard guidelines. It is difficult to be used by wheelchair users, Dr Mohapatra said.

“Coach for the disabled should be of a different colour and an announcement should be made specifically to identify it. There is no proper signage for hearing impaired,” a PwD, Kanhu Charan Mohapatra said.

The team travelled on Puri-Cuttack Passenger and Falaknuma Express towards Cuttack and the return trip was on Dhauli Express. The audit report will be shared with Ministry of Railways, Accessible India Campaign and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dr Mohapatra added.

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