HelpAge India, an NGO that works with senior citizens, forwarded a letter to the general managers of Central and Western Railway demanding more wheelchairs for the elderly at major railway stations in the city.
"We get several calls from the elderly who find it tough to move around busy stations and complain of unavailability of wheelchairs," said Prakash Borgaonkar, director of the Mumbai branch of HelpAge India.
"We have asked for more wheelchairs at major stations such as Dadar, Mumbai Central and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus so that senior citizens do not have to suffer."
The letter states that since a large number of elderly travel by train every day, and due to their health problems, wheelchair facilities are necessary at major stations.
Shilpa Tergaonkar, 75, a Goregaon resident, faced an ordeal at Dadar station when she returned from Belgaum on April 8. She was provided with a broken wheelchair, which officials claimed was the only one available at the station.
"The foot rest was broken, the arm rest did not have a cover, and the wheels were shaky," said Tergaonkar.
When HT visited Dadar and Mumbai Central stations, there were four functional wheelchairs at both stations. Shamsher Singh, station master at Mumbai Central, said requests for wheelchairs came only sporadically and that there were sufficient wheelchairs available for use on a daily basis.
"Wheelchairs are made available at all our stations. There could be a communication gap where passengers are not aware of these facilities," said V Malegaonkar, chief public relation officer, Central Railway. "In the case of broken wheelchairs, we will take corrective measures."