Logo of Disability News and Information Service (DNIS)


Southern Railways disallows disabled passengers with general tickets from boarding special coach

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: In a case of blatant disregard to the principle of inclusion as mandated by U.N.C.R.P.D. and Disability Act, 1995, Southern Railways has decided to accommodate only those disabled passengers who have reserved tickets in the special coach next to guard’s cabin in mail and express trains.

Earlier, passengers with disabilities could board this compartment even on general tickets. With this decision, now only four people can board the special coach.

The Tamil Nadu Association for the Welfare of the Physically Handicapped (T.N.A.W.P.H.) and the Tamil Nadu Disabled Graduates and Physically Handicapped Welfare Association have protested against the move and have demanded that the railways scrap the new system and allow persons with disabilities with general tickets to travel in the special coaches in long-distance trains.

With this system in place, there has been a spurt of incidents where passengers with disabilities have been thrown out of the special coach by Railway Protection Force personnel for traveling without a reserved ticket. This was stated by K. Gopinath, State Deputy General Secretary, T.N.A.W.P.H.

"I was thrown out of the Rockfort Express in Tiruchy because I had a general ticket. R.P.F. personnel also detained me till the train left the station because I protested and pulled the chain," said R. Thangam, State President, Tamil Nadu Disabled Graduates and Physically Handicapped Welfare Association.

"If the reserved berths are vacant, then a disabled passenger traveling without a reservation can utilize that berth,” said A.J. Accamma, Chief Public Relations Officer, Southern Railways.

However, the Railways are conveniently forgetting that in case of the reserved seats not being vacant, passengers with disabilities will have a horrendous time traveling in regular coaches which are not disabled friendly. So much for tall claims made by the Railway Minister to make railways disabled - friendly!