Volume 2 Issue 14 - July 15, 2004

Railway minister unable to fulfil expectations

DNIS News Network -- “It is good to see the word ‘disability’ as a part of the Railway Budget. However, there is nothing substantial for the sector as main issues have been left untouched,” said Javed Abidi, executive director of National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People.

The new Railway Budget has included certain facilities for disabled people but these sops haven’t met the needs of the disabled in a fulfilling manner.

Escorts accompanying a deaf and dumb person will get 50 percent concession in first, second, sleeper classes and in season tickets while 75 percent concession in fares in II/SL/I/AC chair car and AC 3-tier classes has been offered for severe/moderate haemophilia patients travelling for treatment. According to Mr Abidi, these concessions may benefit a few but they cannot bring significant changes to the status of the disabled. There is nothing to cheer about as no step has been taken to make railway compartments, platforms and stations accessible to these people. Mr Abidi adds, “Today, a disabled person cannot travel by train with safety and dignity, despite the fact that it is the only important and affordable travel network for the segment.”

Agreeing with him on the issue is Sanjeev Sachdeva from Samarthaya. He strongly suggests that the concessions should be extended to Rajdhani and Shadabadi trains as well, considering their preference over other trains. He also feels that concessions given to senior citizens could have been extended to the disabled as well.

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