Suburban stations in Mumbai would be made disabled-friendly and have facilities like low height ticket counters by December 31, Railways on Thursday told the Bombay High Court.
The Railway authorities assured the court that facilities for the disabled commuters would be provided at suburban stations by December 31.
These would include low height ticket windows, railings on the foot overbridges and water coolers, the counsel for Central and Western Railway Suresh Kumar told a division bench which was hearing a petition.
A bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka asked the Railways to put this assurance in an affidavit and posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.
At an earlier hearing on a PIL by India Centre for Human Rights and Law, the court had asked the Railways to make stations disabled-friendly.
However, the Railways had expressed the inability to provide low height ticket windows saying it would convenience general passengers. Hearing this, the court had expressed displeasure over the refusal to put up low height ticket windows.
“How can you not provide such facilities…? We have already ordered you to do so. Tell us why will you not follow the law?” the court had asked, after going through affidavit filed by Railways.
On the last occasion, the court had asked the petitioner to make CIDCO, an infrastructure arm of the state government, a respondent as 14 railway stations on the Navi Mumbai route fall under its purview. It also sought a reply from CIDCO to the issues raised in the PIL.
The court also observed that there should be special facilities on the platforms to allow the disabled persons to board the trains easily.
The ‘Persons With Disability Act’ makes it mandatory for the government and other agencies to make public spaces and transport facilities disabled-friendly. “Despite the provisions framed under the law, the implementation is far from satisfactory,” the PIL said.