Making Railway Stations Special for the Specially Abled in Agra and Mathura
- Ayodhya Prasad Singh
- Published on 5 Dec 2022, 5:00 pm IST
- 4 minutes read
- The Agra Cantt and Mathura Junction stations have been made more accessible and friendly, keeping in mind the specially abled passengers.
- This initiative was spearheaded by 2011-batch IRTS officer Aman Verma and 2017-batch IRTS officer Prashasti Srivastava.
- The steps include portable ramp and wheelchairs to board coaches, Braille indicators for platform numbers, reflective strips on stairs, Braille information books at the enquiry counter, and QR codesfor videos in sign language.
Taking into consideration the difficulties faced by the differently abled people in train travel, the Agra and Mathura railway divisionsin Uttar Pradesh have made the Agra Cantt and Mathura Junction stations more accessible and friendly, keeping in mind the specially abled passengers. This initiative was spearheaded by 2011-batch IRTS officer Aman Verma and 2017-batch IRTS officer Prashasti Srivastava.
Many initiatives were introduced by this two member-team in these two railway stations to make them more accessible and friendly for the differently abled, in a bid to makethe stations inclusive and welcoming for all passengers. Extra care was taken to make their stay at the station and their journeys more convenient and comfortable, especially for those passengers who face difficulty in mobility, vision, or hearing. This step is a landmark in passenger amenities, and in line with the Prime Minister’s goal of an ‘Accessible India’.
Indian Masterminds interacted with IRTS officer Prashasti Srivastava, who is ACM, Agra Division, to get more details about this initiative.
To make the stations differently abled-friendly, portable ramp and wheelchairs were installed to board the coaches. Braille indicators are being used on platforms and railings to identify platform numbers and any kind of boards at railway stations. Reflective strips have been installed on the stairs and Braille information books have been made available at the enquiry counter. QR code facility is also being provided to watch videos in sign language.
Now, there are Braille signages at all important entry and exits, a Braille map of the entire station, Braille signages at lifts, escalators, and other station boards like station master office, waiting hall, etc. There are also illuminated strips on pathways to help a person with poor eyesight, especially during night time. AV content in sign language has also been made available at various locations of the stations, that can be accessedthrough QR codes, that can be scanned by any smart phone.
Ms. Prashasti said, “We have tried to make the station more accessible, especially for differently abled people. We noticed that although wheel chairs are mandatory at all stations, if differently abled persons reache the platform with a wheel chair, they cannot board the train on their own and have to take help from others to lift their wheel chair into the train. That’s why we thought that there should be a portable ramp, so that the wheel chair can easily go inside.”
Accordingly, discussions were held with the mechanical department to design a ramp. In the middle of this process, they got the support of an NGO named Anuprayas, which had expertise in this field.
BRAILLE ENABLED STATIONS
“We also got to know that they work in Braille signage. So, we decided that Braille signs should also be there at the stations. So, the content is of the NGO only, but the initiative was taken at the division level and executed,” said Ms. Prashasti.
So, in what could be the first time in the country, these two stations are now braille enabled. All the amenities available in the stations, whether it is a map, water booths, or rest rooms, have Braille signs naming and indicating them. At the same time, QR codes have been installed for visually impaired people. Videos of sign languages are also included in these codes. If the hearing impaired people scan through the phone, they will see sign language videos, in which they will get all information about the station.
MAKING IT EASY FOR THE VISUALLY CHALLENGED
Explaining further, Ms. Prashasti said that every station has a concourse area, where there is a huge metal map of the railways. It gives information about the entire station in Braille script, like, how many platforms are there, how to reach there, where are the stairs, where are the escalators or lifts, where are the offices, where are the waiting rooms, etc.
“We know that it is very difficult for a visually impaired person to gather this information. But because of this map, and Braille signs, they can easily know everything now. There is also a Braille sign at the place of every amenity,” the officer said.
A thoughtful initiative indeed, making train travelling a beautiful, hassle free experience for the specially abled people, and, for this, the Agra and Mathura divisions of railways deserve a special mention.
END OF THE ARTICLE
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