Chennai HC directs Southern Railway to make trains more disabled-friendly

CHENNAI: A city-based court of the state commissioner for the differently abled, has directed Southern Railways and stake-holders to hold a meeting with regard to provision of reasonable accommodation for differently-abled in trains where LHB-type SLRD coaches were not available.

Passing interim orders, State Commissioner for the Special Court Ashish Kumar, constituted under Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, said the meeting shall be held on or before 9 July.

The court was hearing a petition by TMN Deepak Nathan, founder-president of ‘December 3rd Movement’, who sought reasonable accommodation, temporarily, for differently-abled persons in trains where Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) type second class luggage rake for disabled (SLRD) coaches are not available, especially in Pandian and Rockfort Express trains.

When the matter came up on 19 June, counsel for Southern Railways filed an affidavit stating that the Railway Board had accorded sanction for the manufacture of LHB type SLRD coaches for attachment in LHB rakes.

Production of these coaches will be taken up during 2017-18 in its units at ICF and RCF, it added.

However, petitioner’s counsel told the Commissioner that the solution proposed would take a long time and hence, there was need of temporary measures for providing reasonable accommodation for differently-abled passengers in the two trains.

The petitioner also offered to give suggestions or ideas on the issue.

The Commissioner directed that a joint meeting be held on or before 9 July and a detailed action plan be submitted to the court on the provisions proposed to be made by Southern Railways, till a permanent solution of providing LHB type SLRD coaches in the two trains are provided.

The matter would be taken up again on 10 July.