While every local train has a coach designated for the physically challenged, the visually impaired now want special privileges off the train too. The National Federation of the Blind has asked the Indian Railways to set up alternate ticket counters and vending machines at stations.
The Railways are acquiring more than 400 new ATVMs for Mumbai along with 170 coin and cash operated ticket vending machines. Although a slew of measures have been recently undertaken by the Indian Railways to reduce queues at ticket counters, including the introduction of mobile ticketing and coin/cash operated ticket vending machines, little has been done to ease matters for the disabled, says the Association.
Last week, MP Gopal Shetty supported this demand. According to him, apart from introducing practical measures, the Railways needed to consider an overhaul of the Railway Act to facilitate the blind. “They should be allowed to sell items on station premises,” he said. Presently, only licensed food stalls are allowed to hawk wares on platforms.
The National Federation of Blind had submitted their representation to Shetty and also met railway minister Suresh Prabhu. “We will have to come to a consensus. We can’t inconvenience suburban commuters while considering the request,” said Prabhu after inaugurating a new foot over bridge and escalator at Borivali station last week.