Indian Railways is committed to make its Railway stations and trains accessible for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) as part of “Sugamya Bharat Mission” or Accessible India Campaign of Government of India. Improvement/ augmentation of amenities at Railway stations, including those for differently abled passengers, is a continuous process. Provisions of facilities for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) are to be made at all stations over Indian Railways. The categorization of stations is reviewed every five years. In April, 2018, it has been decided to change the categorization of Stations from ‘A-1’, ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’ & ‘F’ category to NSG1, NSG2, NSG3, NSG4, NSG5 & NSG6, SG1, SG2 & SG3 and HG1, HG2 & HG3 based on passengers handled and earnings of the stations.
In order to provide better accessibility to Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Short Term Facilities and Long Terms facilities have been planned at all stations (including erstwhile B category stations), beginning with Non Suburban Group ‘NSG1’, ‘NSG2’, ‘NSG3’ & ‘NSG 4’ category stations.
Public Announcement Systems including Computer Announcement System at 4367 stations, Trains Indication Boards at 1125 stations and Coach Indication Systems at 644 stations have been provided at Railway Stations which may also be accessed by Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan).
Regarding making trains Divyangjan friendly, around 3,400 disabled friendly Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches (Transportation Code – SLRD/SRD) are available in the fleet of Indian Railways. These coaches have a suitably designed compartment and toilet adapted to the needs of the disabled/wheel chair borne passengers. In these coaches, wider entrance door, wider berths, wider compartments, larger lavatory and lavatory doors, etc. have been provided. Inside the toilets, additional grab rails on the side walls for support and wash basin and mirror at a lower height are also available. It is endeavored to have at least one such coach in each Mail/Express train having ICF type coaches. Further, Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) type coaches (Transportation Code – LSLRD/LDSLR) with facilities for Divyangjan on similar lines as is available in ICF design coaches are also under manufacture at Integral Coach Factory/Chennai.
For the assistance of the visually impaired travelers, Integrated Braille Signages, i.e. signages superimposed with Braille scripts, are being provided in all the newly manufactured coaches. Further, retrofitment of the same in existing coaches has also been taken up in a phased manner.
In order to facilitate easy movement of elderly, sick and differently abled passengers and for smooth access to platforms of major railway stations and for ease of movement, escalators/lifts are being provided as part of ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan’. As per the revised policy guidelines of Indian Railways, Escalators are to be provided at railway stations having footfall of more than twenty five thousand and at railway stations at state capital and millennium cities. Lifts are being provided depending upon the relative priority of various stations and the availability of resources and feasibility for provision of lifts. So far, 705 escalators at 250 stations and 521 lifts at 226 stations have been provided over Indian Railways (till 31.10.2019).
Provisions of facilities for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) are to be provided at all stations over Indian Railways based on the needs of travelling public and availability of funds. Works for all passenger amenities including facilities for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) at Railway stations are generally funded under Plan Head – 53 ‘Passenger Amenities’. No separate accountal is made for expenditure on amenities for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan). However, priority will be accorded to higher category of station over lower category of station while sanctioning and executing the works for all passenger amenities/facilities for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) at Railway stations.
All General Managers of the Zonal Railways have been instructed to provide Special Training Modules on Soft Skills as a part of Initial/Refresher/Special Courses to all frontline staff directly dealing with customers wherein greater thrust has been given towards customer satisfaction and the need to focus on customer as the principal client.
All commercial frontline staff are given special training on passenger amenities wherein training on special facilities provided for Physically Challenged persons and provision of wheelchair are given.
This information was given by the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha yesterday.