800 people caught in 10 days travelling in physically handicapped coaches of Mumbai locals

In an ongoing drive, RPF caught 800 people travelling in the coach meant for physically challenged

During peak hours, the handicapped coach is more often than not occupied by the able-bodied looking to avoid crowds. File Pic
During peak hours, the handicapped coach is more often than not occupied by the able-bodied looking to avoid crowds. File Pic

In what should be human decency and not a mandatory drive by the authorities, the Central Railways has caught 800 people travelling in the 'handicapped' coaches – meant for the physically challenged, cancer patients and pregnant women – over a span of just 10 days.

To make matters worse, of those caught, 198 people refused to alight from the compartment despite being asking by the RPF. “They were then forcibly made to get down while the ticket checker fined and booked them under relevant sections,” said a RPF officer. Usually, the fine is R500 under Section 155 (1) of the Railway Act. The others who alighted quietly were let off with a warning.

The cherry on the pie: the RPF caught 15 police personnel, eight railway staffers and one BMC official travelling against the rule too. “Most of these people were caught during morning peak hours when people are in a hurry to reach their place of work,” said S Bhalode, senior divisional security commissioner (Mumbai), Central Railway.

This report comes right on the heels of a recent mid-day report about Virali Modi, a wheelchair bound activist who was molested by porters while being carried into the coach. She has now demanded better infrastructure and trains for the physically-challenged passengers.

On a regular day, the CR authorities catch around 40 commuters travelling in the handicap compartment. When special drives are conducted, the number goes up to as many as 70 people.

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