Highlighting problem of senior and differently abled citizens along with list of lifts and escalators existing and planned at Railway Stations with few suggestions.
Climbing stairs to foot over bridge for changing platform is one of the major issue every one faces during the beginning and end of the rail journey. Everyone wishes the arrival and dispatch of a train from platform No. 1 without requiring climbing stairs. For Senior Citizen and differently abled, it is certainly a painful experience.
Even for normal person, pain of climbing stairs with handful of luggage is visible on their faces. Certainly, Indian Railways is looking for provision of escalators and lifts, but there is lot that should have also been done while providing stairs.
There are many incidences when the platform of the train changed to PF 1 when VVIP has to board a train. There was a funny instance when platform of Rajdhani train changed to PF No.1, but in return the coach guidance board started indicating wrongly. The VVIP along with family members had to travel a distance of 400 meter running along with luggage. In view of few accidents due to stampede at FOB, no one now dares to take such action.
Indian Railways is working on many schemes to make the stairs climbing comfortable such as
- Slope instead stairs
- Lift for differently abled person, ladies and senior citizens.
- Battery operated vehicle to transit passenger from one PF to another
But it will continue to be a challenge till such time concrete action plan is worked out and implemented.
Standards for design of Stairs at Railway Station
There is no standard to which the stairs are built at Railway station and if there exits any, it is not followed. Unequal distance between steps, non-slippary surface and slope makes climbing somewhat difficult. Slope, vertical/horizontal dimensions of steps, anti-skids and uniformity of dimensions are essential features for convenient climbing. This can be experienced while climbing the stairs. This is rarely found available even at important stations causing inconvenience to passenger.
At Delhi Sarai Rohalla Station, ramp is found a part of the stairs at both ends, for what? Is it for rolling up/down the luggage with trolleys, then the surface is not suitably paved as can be seen in the photographs.
Why not convert this ramp with tiled surface for smooth rolling of luggage with step stopper in between.
Provision of Lifts
Lifts are essentially required for those who negotiate distance on wheel chair. Many lifts are provided at Railway Stations, but they generally connect facilities located at higher floors and not the foot over bridge. The statement of lifts provided at stations is given at annexe II and to be provided at annexe IV but you should make yourself sure about the connectivity of the lift.
Provision of Battery Operated vehicle
This scheme has been very popularly implemented in support of Corporate Sector who in turn get free advertisement rights. This was one of the highlight of Budget speech 2014
“Battery operated cars for differently-abled and senior citizens at platforms of all major stations”
Amusingly this was also part of the Budget speech of 2010
“Railways propose to introduce modern trolleys at all important stations which will be handled by uniformed attendants to assist senior citizens and women passengers in boarding and alighting from coaches, along with their luggage comfortably.”
What has happened to Rail Yatri Sewak scheme initiated to begin with at Howrah and Sealdah station vide circular http://www.indianrailways.gov.in/railwayboard/uploads/directorate/traffic_comm/COMM-CIR-2K10/CC_65_10.pdf. Folling some of the points need to be addressed:
- There is no any financial implication to Railways and therefore should be encouraged.
- There is no information available to willing passengers about the scheme through time table or through net about the point of boarding or drop.
- Fare structure of such facility not displayed.
- Why not have the facility to book Rail Yatri Sewak along with the ticket based on the senior citizen or physically disabled concession availed and even payment collected with receipt given.
- Display the mobile number of the Rail Yatri Sewak help desk prominently.
It is easy to provide an escalators on green field project but not so when it has to be provided to connect with the existing foot over bridge using the existing landing. This requires strengthening the FOB structure to bear the load of escalator, blocking the existing landing and space at the platform etc. So far Indian Railways has provided 126 escalators and 59 lifts as per the details given in annexe I . The most important is that there are 400 escalators and 400 lifts planned and sanction for provision at different station as per the details given in annexe III. This is a big investment towards passenger amenities as the cost of one escalator is around 75 lakhs and 15 lakhs respectively an expenditure of around 350 Crs. Indian Railway took abnormal time for the installation of 126 escalators mainly due to the problem of coordination and teething technical problems coming at many of the steps. But now most of the issues had been understood and resolved, and it should not took much time in future. Issues related to Escalators
- When escalator becomes defective, climbing on it is a bit difficult as compared to other stairs case because of the step distance.
- There are generally two foot over bridge and escalators will be provided at one FOB only. If the passenger get down from the train at the other end, than he has to walk a distance of about 500 m along with his belongings to use escalator. Indian Railway shall consider provision of lift at the other FOB.
- A fool proof system has to be devised for informing the passenger about its location and the platform covered. No system is devised yet about the 126 escalators installed. Many a time it is observed that the passenger is climbing stairs not knowing that the escalator exists on the other side.
For Statement of annexe I, II, III and IV visit : https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-k8ZXti7Z3DZXQ2SmpIZURUNmc/edit?usp=sharing
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