Jaipur: As Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is all set to present Railway Budget for 2016 on Feb 25 commuters are expecting a relief and at the same time those who are differently abled are also hoping that a few facilities will be included in this Budget session which will be useful to them. Every year Indian Railway makes an effort to include a few facilities for Persons with Disabilities but when it comes to enforce these in practical its all together a different story. Despite many promises made by Railway Minister every year during budget session still a lot is to be done to make Railway stations and Trains Disabled Friendly by making stations accessible, low height of booking counters, easy retiring rooms, low height booking counter for wheelchair-bound commuters and many others.
In an attempt to check if Railway stations are accessible or not Patrika’s Media Action group conducted an Audit a few months ago under its ongoing campaign AHSAAS which regularly brings out the problems faced by disable people. In the Audit the bad shape of Railway stations and Trains was highlighted. On the eve of Railway Budget MAG Team interacted with Persons with Disability and Experts on this issue to list probable inclusions that could make Railway Budget ‘Disable Friendly’.
Railway Stations and Trains to be made Accessible:
Central Government is making certain efforts to make public places disable friendly but still there is lot to be done. Most of the people with Disability commute through Trains hence more focus should be put on making platforms accessible, presence of wheelchairs, well maintained retiring room, coaches for Specially abled persons. Focus should be laid on both big stations as well as Railway stations in small towns. – P. R Pundit, Director and Special Secretary, Dept of Specially Abled Persons
Concession facility for partially disabled passengers:
In the Railway Budget Ministry should keep a special provision
for concession of partially disabled passengers as well. At present the concession is only given to 100 percent disabled persons however partially disabled should also be treated equally and given the benefits. Most of Railway stations lack the presence of wheelchairs which is the first and most mandatory thing used by PWDs to enter the station. – Hemant Goyal, Expert Disability Issues
Lifts and Escalators to be Constructed in Railway Stations:
Separate budget should be allocated for the construction of Escalators and Lifts on all Railway Stations for the smooth connectivity of platforms. Even if a physically abled person reaches Railway station it becomes very difficult for Physically Disabled person to reach platform other than one as most of the stations lack Lifts and Escalators. The size of the train doors should be slightly bigger in size so that wheelchair gets in comfortably. Also the height of ticket booking counter should be lowered for wheelchair-bound commuters. – Mamta, Physically Disabled
Not only the Specific Coaches but the entire Train should be Disable Friendly:
To reduce the hassle of parents of disabled child who are forced to take separate coaches, Railway should make the entire train disable friendly. The doors and height of the entrance doors should be made bigger and lower. The number of coaches for disabled persons should be increased and at the same time entire train should be made disable friendly. Railway Ministry should also consider to construct a special room for children suffering with Autism as crowd is a turn off to them and makes them irritable. Arprita Yadav , Social Worker
Braille and voice inquiry facility:
Braille should be used for signage for those who are visually impaired. Separate budget should be allocated for it. The tickets which are generated at Railway Station should also be available in Braille. Nowadays technology is advanced so Ministry should make use of it so that visually impaired people find it easy to esquire over telephone. Prateek Agarwal, Visually Impaired Person
Attendants and Toilets facility for Specially-Abled Persons:
A separate budget should be allocated for the construction and maintenance of toilets for specially abled persons. These separate washrooms for PWDs should have bigger doors and more space so that the wheelchair users find it easy to enter. Also lift should be constructed at every station as it is needful for both elderly commuters as well as disabled people. Meenakshi, Social Worker
Disability Audit Report of Railway Stations in Jaipur: