Tuesday, February 02, 2010


It is observed that Indian Railways have very recently arranged betterment of train coaches to facilitate passengers comfort during journeys. Much attention is given for upkeep ness by cleaning of the coaches. Railway may consider to add and rearrange the under noted provisions made in compartments for betterment as well as easement to elderly and disabled persons. Incidentally it is felt that the proposal will involve barest minimum additional cost to Railways.

1). Presently one western type of commode system lavatory is provided in each reserved compartment with sufficient toilet papers. Most of the passengers do not use toilet papers as the system is not prevailing and popular in this country. More over sufficient papers supplied, vanishes quickly for reasons known to every body and as such no useful purpose is served. Since water tabs are provided in compartments for washing facility, Railway may like to consider providing Jet spray system fixed at each commodes so that every body (including aged & disabled person) are benefited. Jet Spray system at commode system has become very popular now a day by common people as the system is very advantageous / useful to aged and disabled person.

2). Although there exist instructions from Railway authority that effort will be made for providing lower berths to passengers aged above 55 / 60 years, but in various cases it is observed that aged passengers had to travel by upper berths under compelled circumstance.

Unfortunately the ladders / steps provided in coaches to climb upper berths are not friendly to general passengers including aged persons and this also disturb lower berth holders by upper berth passenger during use at night journeys. Under the circumstance it is urged that Railways will reexamine the issue in view of constraints explained and consider providing ladder friendly to passengers in general to climb / get down upper berths.

3). Suggestions made earlier for improvement of passenger amenities etc by Railways are reproduced for consideration and implementation.

a). Some 20-25 years back we used see a white line mark of 1Mtr along the both side edge of a road for slow speed pedestrians and vehicles where foot paths are not available. On a high speed busy traffic road this white demarcated area was considered as a safe area for very sickly and disabled persons. Reintroduction of this system will definitely be very useful to PWDs as well as others sickly personal at various railway premises.

b). At different major railway stations it is always very difficult to move, proceed further to board in a train by sickly, old aged and Person With Disability. At times even persons having full sympathy towards PWD and old aged persons failed to help due to rush for trains. Situations become very grave at stations like Sealdah, Chhannai, Howrah, Mumbai and Delhi where hundreds of local passengers used to travel daily. Railway administration may like to consider marking a passage width of 2Mtrs from main entrance up to each platform with white or any international accepted color so that PWDs and other week persons may avail conveniently. This demarcated area for PWDs and like others will however equally availed of by all passengers but will allow easy passage to PWDs and like other disables. Time to time announcement will serve as a consciousness of the general public. Simply demarcation as proposed will be of immense help to PWDs.

c). Similar action is proposed to be introduced by Metro Railways of the country. As a large number of office commuters had to catch trains according to their own schedule, they had to run violating every thing but a clear and visible 'Demarcation' and there by resultant general consciousness will definitely demand allowing PWDs and others allowing passage way. Demarcation as proposed if implemented will be very much helpful to PWDs, sickly and old aged persons.

d). It is seen that hand railings are not provided at star case of different old office / railway stations / commercial buildings for going to upper floors / pathway. As it becomes very difficult for sickly, PWDs and Old Aged persons to move in an easier manner it is necessary to provide hand railing facility to all such areas where hand railing facility do not exist. A proper guide line in this regard needed be issued by the appropriate authority of Government of India.

A common scenario may be seen everywhere at different railway stations, especially at metro stations that space available along the hand rails are occupied by young boys and girls for reasons not connected with traveling purpose. The said occupation of space tantamount to create inconvenience to other commuters including PWD, sickly and old aged disables. Proper announcement in this regard and time to time clearance by departmentally engaged unit may be helpful to arrest the unwanted problems.

Incidentally it is to mention that in the year 2004 I have requested Sri. A. Gupta, Chief Engineer, M.Rly./ Kolkata to provide hand railings to all star cases for convenience of PWD commuters which was accepted by him and had issued necessary instructions on spot.

e). Being a PWD while traveling in AC coach it has been experienced at the time of detraining at major stations like Delhi, Chennai, Howrah, Hardware etc. that huge numbers of collies enters into compartments and jamming the entire passage in hunt of customers. In most cases numbers of collies entered in the compartment are 2 / 3 times greater than that of number of passengers boarded in compartment. As a result most of the collies do not get customers for them and thereby being dissatisfied / aggrieved starts either forcing or starts arguing with the remaining slow moving sickly, old aged, PWD and female passengers taking advantage of very few passengers remaining in the compartment and inside compartment not visible from outside because of AC glass sealed coach. During my last visit to South India while detraining at Chennai Egmore station we had not engaged any collie in a similar situation as were having only some hand bags with us. Some collies started arguing in local language and behaved in ugly manner with my daughter which I had to protest. As I am a physically challenged PWD they did not touch me but followed up to main road abusing me in local language. Some local people having sympathy for us wanted to know the issue. Since I cannot talk to them I wanted to express my trouble to them with local language interpreter, Tamilian friend from Kolkata over my Mobile phone. But alas, my mobile phone and money bag pick pocketed at compartment while I was being pushed out by said collies. Definitely no body will appreciate such situation to happen in future. Railway administration may like to restrict entrance of collies in all AC compartments where inside is not visible from out side and ensure restriction is implemented properly to avoid unwanted situations in future. Only one collie may be allowed to enter on demand by a particular passenger.

f). Traffic control system for a city have been introduced considering easy movement, safety and hazard less utilization of both by vehicles and pedestrians. There is no doubt that the best system available has been introduced for traffic control. PWDs specially persons who can move a few yards with the help of an escort finds it difficult to attend to an office situated at a spot where either a vehicle is prohibited or entering / getting down not allowed. In certain areas garaging of a vehicle not allowed. Had to get down from vehicles far away from Howrah station main or nearby any approachable gate and had to walk through running vehicles / large number of commuters running to catch their local trains. The problems of PWDs who cannot move freely were discussed with different traffic controller, traffic experts of the city who opined as follows:-

Authority controlling traffic may like to consider as a special case for PWDs holding Handicapped Certificate issued by Government authority for more than 50%Disablity with them allowing to enter with vehicles to a restricted area for traffic(Other than Prohibited Areas) and by earmarking a suitable gate at Howrah etc stations for entrance of vehicles carrying PWDs having H.C over 50% Disability. Traffic controlling management may like to review the situation keeping in view the difficulties faced by PWDs to solve problems and betterment.

Article by:
Chinmay Kar

Any suggestions for further betterment of Railways & beneficial to railway commuters are invited. Suggestions may be posted at appropriate space provided or may be sent to Kodakkal Shivaprasad at kodakkalshivaprasad@gmail.com or Chinmay Kar at chinmaykar@yahoo.co.in

Let us hope for a better tomorrow.

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