Agencies, New Delhi
In its endeavour to provide adequate amenities to passengers at Railway stations, including those for Divyangjan, easy movement of elderly, sick and differently-abled passengers and for smooth access to platforms of major railway stations and ease of movement, escalators and lifts are being provided as part of ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’, official sources here said.
Railways has more than 8,700 stations and provision of facilities for Persons with Disabilities are to be provided at all stations based on the needs of travelling public and availability of funds.
In order to provide better accessibility to Divyangjan, Short Term Facilities and Long Terms facilities have been planned at all stations, beginning with Non Suburban Group ‘NSG 1’, ‘NSG 2, ‘NSG 3′ & NSG 4’ (erstwhile ‘A-1’, ‘A’ & ‘B’) category stations.
Under the Abhiyan, so far, 669 escalators at 240 stations and 493 lifts at 214 stations have been provided.
All General Managers of Zonal Railways have been instructed to provide Special Training Modules on Soft Skills as a part of initial or refresher or special courses to all frontline staff directly dealing with customers wherein greater thrust has been given towards customer satisfaction and the need to focus on customer as principal client.
They said that all commercial frontline staffs are given special training on passenger amenities wherein training on special facilities provided for physically challenged persons and provision of wheel chair are given.
Zonal Railways have been instructed to provide one wheelchair per platform and in case of island platforms, one wheel chair per two platforms at all A-1 and A category stations. Yatri Mitra Sewa has also been introduced at major railway stations for enabling passengers to book wheel chairs services cum porter services free of cost through NGOs, Charitable trust, PSUs etc under CSR and responsibility of providing this facility has been entrusted with IRCTC.
In case of lack of response from NGOs, Charitable trust, PSUs etc, this service may be arranged on payment basis through a service provider or on its own.
Passenger can book e-wheelchairs on line through IRCTC portal www.irctc.co.in. The facility is presently, available at 22 stations i.e. Ahmedabad, Agra Cantt., Vadodara, Varanasi, Bhusawal, Vijayawada, Kanpur Central, Mumbai CST, Mumbai Central, Howrah, Indore, Jhansi, Jaipur, Lucknow Jn., Lucknow, New Delhi, Nagpur, Pathankot Cantt., Pune, Bengaluru City, Secunderabad and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra.
They can book cab or coach & porter service online through IRCTC portal www.irctc.co.in. The facility is available at Chandigarh, Gaya, Guntur, Howrah, Jaipur, Lucknow, Lucknow Jn., Madurai, New Delhi, Delhi Jn., Hazrat Nizamuddin, Delhi Safdarjung, Anand Vihar, Delhi Cantt., Delhi Sarai Rohilla, Tirupati and Vijaywada.
Powers have been delegated to DRMs to decide the provision of Battery Operated Vehicles (BOVs) at station on merit – whether free of cost through commercial publicity route or through ‘user pays’ route.
At the Divisional level, Chief Travelling Ticket Inspectors/In-charges (CTTI/ICs), Station Managers (SMRs) and concerned Commercial Inspectors are directed to perform duty as a disability Inspector for providing assistance to Persons with Disabilities.
Ministry of Railways through various agencies is undertaking techno-economic feasibility studies of its various stations and based on the outcome of these studies, stations are planned to be taken up for redevelopment in phases, especially the stations located in major cities, pilgrimage centres and important tourist destinations.
The cost of station redevelopment project is to be met by leveraging commercial development of land and air space in and around the stations. The railway stations are taken up for redevelopment based on financial viability. Presently, work of redevelopment is in progress at Gandhinagar(Gujarat) and Habibganj(Bhopal) stations. Contracts for redevelopment have been awarded for Gomtinagar, Charbagh(Lucknow) and Puducherry stations, the sources said.
The facilities proposed in a redeveloped station include congestion free non-conflicting entry or exit to the station premises, segregation of arrival or departure of passengers, adequate concourse without overcrowding, integration of both sides of the city wherever feasible, integration with other modes of transport systems like bus, Metro, user friendly international signage, well illuminated circulating area and sufficient provision for drop off, pick up and parking.