Railways is denying right to mobility, disability rights organisation says, stages protest in Madurai

No fare concession given in special trains, specially-designed coaches for disabled removed or locked, the protesters said

Southern Railway has been denying the right to mobility to persons with disabilities by not extending the concession in train fares, activists said on Wednesday.

Besides operating only a limited number of trains in the pretext of COVID-19 pandemic, the officials have removed the coaches specially designed for disabled persons. In some trains, these coaches are kept locked and the disabled persons are put to lot of hardship, said S. Namburajan, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (Taratdac).

Participating in a protest in front of Madurai Railway junction, as part of a State-wide programme, Mr. Namburajan, said that those trains that were being operated were named ‘special trains’ and their fares were increased exorbitantly. “In the name of special trains, the disabled persons are not given concessions,” he said.

Stating that such moves were against the mobility of the disabled persons, he said that Southern Railway was acting in violation of the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in violation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Over and above this, the railway officials were putting the disabled, aged, children and women to avoidable difficulties by not operating the lifts and elevators on the railway platforms. “People with heavy luggage have to lug them with great trouble,” he said.

“Our right to mobility is further restricted with the high fuel price. We demand that the Centre extend the 50% price concession for 25 litres of petrol a month that is being given by the governments of Puducherry and Chandigarh, across the country,” Mr. Namburajan said.

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