MUMBAI (Metro Rail News): On July 22, The Bombay High Court asked the railway authorities to “think out of the box” and come up with ways to make suburban train coaches and stations more disabled-friendly.
The Railways in an affidavit submitted before the high court said it would not be possible to increase the halt time of trains and to redesign the coaches reserved for disabled persons.
It filed the affidavit in response to a query made last month by a division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice N M Jamdar whether collapsible ramps could be placed at the doors of local train coaches reserved for differently-abled persons.
The court had then also suggested to increase the halt time of trains at each station for the convenience of disabled persons.
However, the Railways, in the affidavit, said, “Installation of the collapsible ramp at the doors would require complete redesigning of these coaches by providing a suitable hydraulic system. At present, there is no design available.”
It said, currently, a train halts at a station for 20 to 30 seconds and if the collapsible ramp is installed, then the halt time will increase which would then result in 11 percent decrease in train services.
“Consequently, the rush would increase which may then result in an increase in accidents,” the affidavit said.
The bench then said the Railways has to come up with a solution.
“We daily read newspaper reports about deaths due to overcrowding in local trains. You (railways) have to come up with a solution. Think out of the box. Technology has improved so much in this world,” Chief Justice Nandrajog said.
Justice Jamdar suggested that the coach behind motorman’s cabin be reserved for the differently-abled.
The bench was hearing public interest litigation filed by local NGO ‘India Centre for Human Rights and Law’ for making the suburban trains and railway stations disabled-friendly.
The court has posted the petition for further hearing in September.