BENGALURU: With India home to the maximum number of visually impaired individuals in the world and Karnataka possessing a higher percentage of blind people than the national average, it is fitting that the second visually-impaired friendly railway station in the country now figures in the state. Mysuru attained this distinction on November 3, 2015.
On Tuesday various facilities to aid the blind were unveiled at the Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna (Bengaluru City) railway station.
Two Braille scripted tactile maps that will help a visually impaired person identify directions to platforms, ticket counters, restrooms and restaurants were inaugurated in the concourse area in front of Platform One.
A total of 600 Braille platform indicators have been placed along the railings of the old Foot Over Bridge and the subway. Braille time tables will be made available at enquiry counters, apart from Braille menu in important eateries in the premises of the railway station.
NGO Anuprayaas, which was instrumental in setting these facilities up in Mysuru, has now done it in Bengaluru. The cost of Rs 7 crore, required for the project was borne by Altius Realty as part of its CSR initiatives.
Its founder Panjam Cajla said, “The whole idea is to empower the visually impaired. With Bengaluru being such a big station, it was quite complicated. I used to bring my visually impaired friends repeatedly to the railway station to cross check if they could read the signages correctly.” Thatagata Chatterjee, Founder of Altius Realty, which sponsored the project as part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives, said a sum of `7 crore had been spent on the project so far.
Speaking to reporters after the inauguration, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Bengaluru Division, N R Sridharamurthy, said, “For the first time in any station, the braille script on the indicators has been provided in Kannada along with English in order to help those in the state who know only the mother tongue.”
Divisional Railway Manager Sanjiv Agarwal said, “KSR railway station has over 2 lakh footfalls each day and this facility will be immensely useful to those who are visually impaired.”Anil Sheikh, a visually impaired diploma student at JSS Polytechnic for the Differently Abled in Mysuru, who inaugurated one of the tactile maps, said, “These signages in Mysuru have really helped me navigate the station there on my own. Though it does not help me entirely and I am still dependent on the sighted for a few locations, it helps me to a considerable extent to be on my own.”
Yeshwantpur will be the next station in the state to become visually impaired-friendly, Sridharamurthy said.