Disability rights groups stage protests at railway stations in Tamil Nadu
The Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently-Abled & Caregivers (Taratdac), held protests across 30 major railway stations in the state. They were condemning the Railway department for violating the rights of disabled people.
The protests were specifically targeted at those stations where the treatment towards disabled people was the worst. Two of the stations are in Chennai.
Some of the issues mentioned were lack of facilities to enable easy access to disabled people. Like the Tambaram railway station, which does not have a battery car for disabled people. There are no lifts, special parking, or information if wheelchair access is available. Despite repeated appeals, there is no announcement on where coaches for disabled people will stop.
At Perambur station, buying tickets is also a major issue as there are no special queues for disabled people. Tactile flooring for the blind is missing in almost all the stations.
Another major issue is that the Indian Railways refuses to accept the universal-identity card scheme. This enables a single ID utilization for all departments. This means that a disabled person has to apply for a separate identity card issued by the Railways at the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) offices. These are present only in four places in Tamil Nadu - Chennai, Tiruchy, Salem and Madurai. The DRM offices are not disabled-friendly and the ID is very difficult to access.
The Taratdac has announced a protest in New Delhi on 6 March to create greater awareness about making railway travel accessible for disabled people.