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Railways turning friendlier to Divyangjans, says Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The railways are now becoming friendlier to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) during their journey by trains than earlier in the country by taking various measures of comfort apart from granting them concession in fare. The railways has also put up mechanisms to receive feedback from the PwDs on services and facilities, which are now being provided to them during the journey.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw recently informed the Lok Sabha that 25% quota in allotment of STD/ISD PCO booths at stations has been reserved for the Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), who apply for this service as part of the railways’ move to promote the self-employment.

An earmarked separate reservation counter has also been set up at almost all railway stations for the ‘Divyangjans’ where they can reach their wheelchairs without any hassle.

 Besides all this, the railway is manufacturing and attaching specially designed coaches known as SLRD (Second class-cum-luggage and Brake van with compartments for Divyangjans) in trains.

“At every important railway stations, availabilities of escalators, lifts, ramps drinking water taps and toilets suitable for the Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjans) are being ensured by the railway,” the minister said, adding that Braille sing indicators and signage of appropriate visibility have also been provided.

Vaishnaw further said, “The Railway has already been facilitating a separate compartment earmarked for Divyangjans in the last vehicle in almost all mail and express trains operating with the coaches manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory. These coaches have wider doors wider berths, larger lavatory and wheelchair parking space created inside”.

The most important one is that the railway has provided additional grab rails inside the toilets for Divyangjans on the sidewall and wash basins and mirrors at suitable heights.

Now, all LHB(Link Hofmann Busch) coaches, every facility for suitability of Divyangjans are being provided in all trains, which are operating with the rakes of LHB coaches across the country. Sharing details, the railway minister said that 994 disabled-friendly coaches have been manufactured till June 30, 2022.

“Subject to operational feasibility and availability of such coaches, trains operating with ICF rakes have at least one PwD(Divyangjans) –friendly coach now,” he said, adding that same is being provided in the trains running with rakes of LHB  coaches.

Unfortunately, such facility is not avaibale with the Rajdhani, the Shatbadi, AC Express including Tejas express but new design LHB Air condition economy coaches are being manufactured with one compartment friendly to Divyangjans.

“Till now, 348 LHB Air Conditioned Economy coaches have been manufactured with facility for Divyangjans,” the minister added. Besides all this, the railway has made nearly 709 railway stations of category A, A-1 and B fully accessible to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

“Induction of PwD friendly coaches and other facilities is an ongoing process over Indian Railways to make the entire railway services much friendly and easier to PwDs than earlier,” the minister said.

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