This year’s railway budget has remained colourless not just for regular commuters, but also the physically challenged.
Upset at being ignored again, the Disability Advocacy Group of Mumbai, a commuter group fighting for the rights of the disabled, has decided to take up their demands through peaceful protests outside railway stations this week.
“There was nothing in store for the disabled in this year’s railway budget. Even if our plights were considered and rules made stringent, can we easily travel inside suburban trains, especially during peak hours?” asked Jitendra Karelia, president of the Disability Advocacy Group of Mumbai. The Railway Budget 2011-12 has proposed special foot overbridges with elevators at Thane, Andheri, Borivali, Dadar and other select stations.
But the group wants basic facilities such as special ticket counters, action against those who travel in coaches reserved for the physically challenged and disabled-friendly toilets at railway stations.
“Around 30 physically challenged commuters will hold placards at Churchgate station, demanding implementation of Section 155 of Railways Act that prohibits commuters from boarding reserved compartments,” said Karelia.
“There is enough space for the physically challenged in compartment reserved for them in the new-age trains and we often ensure that other commuters don’t enter it,” said S Chandrayan, chief PRO of the Western Railway.