Mumbai: If commuters, particularly the differently-abled, are not able to travel safely on local trains, then this mode of transport is meaningless, observed the Bombay High Court on Friday. The HC also said, not just differently-abled citizens but even the able ones have 'no courage and are scared' to travel via local trains at peak hours.
A bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Riyaz Chagla made the observations while ordering the railways to provide better amenities for the differently-abled. The bench said that amenities did not mean increased rakes or escalators alone.
“All that we want is that no differently-abled citizen must fall at the time of alighting or boarding a train, especially in peak hours. There must be some mechanism to ensure that they board and alight safely,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.
The bench accordingly, sought to know if the railways had ever made an attempt to study the percentage of commuters who are differently-abled.
“We have noticed that such passengers usually commute only when they have to travel from one end to the other. For instance, they might take a train to directly get down at its last destination and would not even dare to alight at any station in between,” Justice Dharmadhikari observed.
“We can say that not only such passengers but in fact even the able ones have no courage or strength to travel in local trains during peak hours. No one likes to board a train when it is overcrowded,” Justice Dharmadhikari remarked.
The court further opined that no one in the railways seems to be taking any responsibility to enhance the journey of commuters.
“This mode of transport is not taking care of the differently-abled citizens. It appears that nobody wants to address the issue. We can say that if the journey is not good and short then this transport is meaningless for the commuters,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.
“Accordingly, we want you (railways) to take care of the issue and provide a friendly atmosphere to the differently-abled citizens, so that they can board and alight trains without any fear. We think everyone should be able to use local trains at any given point of time,” Justice Dharmadhikari opined.
The bench accordingly, disposed of a petition seeking directions to the railways to provide friendly amentities for the differently-abled commuters.