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Bombay high court asks Railways to list steps taken to make stations disabled-friendly

The HC has sought an affidavit from the government and the Railways within two weeks

mumbai Updated: Aug 13, 2017 00:56 IST
Ayesha Arvind

The Bombay high court has directed the Railways and the Union government to list the steps taken to provide facilities to the differently-abled commuters on the suburban rail network.

A bench of justices Anoop V Mohta and Bharati Dangre also asked the authorities to clarify why, despite legal provisions and several court orders, they had failed to providing amenities for such passengers. It has sought an affidavit from the government and the Railways within two weeks on the measures taken to improve the situation.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by the India Centre for Human Rights and Law.

In January, another bench of the court held that the railways was duty bound to provide facilities to the differently-abled passengers in the country. The bench had suggested that a separate budgetary allocation for the same, and it had also passed a slew of directions for the authorities to implement.

According to the order, among other things, the authorities were to build ramps, low-height booking windows, stainless-steel railings on foot bridges, special public announcement systems, drinking water taps, and help centres. Subsequently, the court had also sought the names of the general managers of the Central Railway and Western Railway. It had warned to issue contempt notices in their names if they failed to comply with the previous orders.

However, during the hearing earlier this week, the petitioners told the court that a survey of the suburban railway stations had revealed “several deficiencies”.

The Railways in turn submitted an affidavit, listing the steps taken so far, but the court noted that the same reflected only “partial compliance” of the court’s directions.

The Railways cited budgetary constraints and other difficulties, but the court noted that since the court’s order was binding, the authorities will have to implement all directions issued in the January order.

The high court is likely to take the matter for further hearing on August 28.

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