Mumbai: Battery-operated wheelchair lifts to come to CR passengers' aid

Updated: Jan 02, 2019, 19:44 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Battery-operated wheelchairs placed atop buggies will help put physically challenged inside train at Central Railway

The wheelchair lift has been successfully used in Nagpur
The wheelchair lift has been successfully used in Nagpur

After the popularity of the small buggy at stations to ferry passengers with luggage up to their trains, the Central Railway has now come up with a similar idea to help physically challenged commuters. This is a battery-operated wheelchair atop a buggy that can lift a passenger and put him aboard the train. This wheelchair, which was successfully used in Nagpur division, will soon be tried in Mumbai.

In Nagpur, the wheelchair was bought under a CSR project from M/s Callidai Motor Works, Chennai, by the IRCTC at a cost of Rs 2.93 lakh. The number of such wheel chairs to be brought to Mumbai is yet to be decided.

Explaining the wheelchair lift, Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Sunil Udasi said, "The wheelchair lift helps ferry passengers straight to the berth. The battery-operated wheelchair lift works on a very simple technique and is being operated by trained sahayaks (licensed porters) in phases. The vehicle is powered by rechargeable batteries and can be driven and operated at a maximum speed of 4 kmph with ease. The mileage per charge is six hours non-stop or 25km, which is sufficient for a full day, with electronic circuit braking, and maximum permissible weight of driver and passenger of 220 kg."

"The wheelchair lift will be useful not just for divyang passengers, but also for senior citizens. It was well appreciated in Nagpur where it has been functional since last year. In Mumbai, these could be used at major mail express train stations," Udasi said.

The wheelchair has been designed to move in narrow spaces and can negotiate the row of berths and be rolled in or out of the train with ease, operated by coolies. "The wheelchair can be replaced by any other chair too. The person sitting on the wheelchair is provided with a belt for safety," he added.

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