The Chandigarh railway station continues to be an unfriendly place for the disabled. Though the station, as part of renovations that began this March, was expected to have disabled-friendly escalators and improved infrastructure by November-end, work is yet to be completed.
Such is the situation that though there is a ramp for the disabled at the entrance, the sole wheelchair at the station has been kept at the deputy railway superintendent's room, and there is no board to give information about its availability.
Even the overbridge connecting the two platforms at the station lacks a ramp, making it difficult for people with disabilities to move. "It is impossible for a person confined to a wheelchair to go from platform 1 to 2 at the railway station," said Suresh Kumar, who regularly shuttles between the city and New Delhi by rail.
Hawkers and porters at the station said travellers with disabilities faced problems every day in the absence of disabled-friendly infrastructure. "Sometimes, the passenger's family approaches us to carry the passenger across the platform," said Ram Charan, a porter.
Contacted, AK Kathpaul, Ambala divisional railway manager, said, "The wheelchair is made available if the station superintendent is asked to do so. We are also building disable-friendly escalators. More wheelchairs will be introduced soon."
Ramandeep Singh, who came with his grandmother from Delhi, said, "On the train, I asked the train ticket examiner (TTE) if a wheelchair is available at the station, he did not know anything. Also, even at the station, there was no sign or person to guide me to the station superintendent's office."
There, however, might be some respite for the disabled as the escalators are expected to be operational by March next year. Chandigarh railway station superintendent Praveen Kumar confirmed this.
Indore-Chandigarh weekly train extended
As passengers will increase during winter vacation, the Indore-Chandigarh weekly special, which had been started keeping in mind the festive season in October, has been extended.
Now, the train will depart from Indore at 8.35 pm on December 5, 12, 19, and 26. In the return journey, the train will depart from Chandigarh at 7:10 pm on December 6, 13, 20 and 27.