In order to make travel easier for differently-abled, the Indian railways have fixed the quota for ‘Divyangs’ as per which lower berth seats in the 3 AC coach of mail as well as express trains will be reserved for them. Right now, this facility is available only in sleeper class. The announcement of it will be made by the Railways next week.
As per a report in PTI, a senior Railway Ministry official said that the lower birth in 3AC coach will be reserved for differently-abled and a software is also being readied for this.
The decision by the railways has come few days after a para-athlete faced a problem as she was allotted an upper berth during a train journey. 34-year-old medal winning para-athlete, Suvarna Raj allegedly had to sleep on the floor of the train after she could not get a lower berth seat even after many requests. The incident took place last month in the Nagpur-Nizamuddin Garib Rath Express.
Narrating her ordeal, Suvarna Raj said, “When I asked fellow passengers to exchange seat with me, they refused bluntly,” added the disability rights activist.
After the incident came to light, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the way the athlete was treated and instructed the officials to take corrective measures so that an incident like this does not take place in future.
In another incident which took place a few months back, Bombay High Court ordered Indian Railways to pay compensation to the woman who lost both her legs when she was boarding a train.
So as to ensure smooth entry to platforms, all stations are being made accessible for differently-abled passengers. The waiting halls at the station have Divyang-friendly toilets and there are various coaches which have signage system in braille