Railways issue Special Identity Cards for Physically Challenged

New Delhi: In the wake of recent Court directives based on a number of complaints and requests from the NGOs and public representatives on issue of special identity cards to the physically challenged, the Indian Railways, on Saturday, extended its support to the physically challenged by providing concessions to them. The Railways will be issuing special photo identity cards to the physically challenged persons.

They, through the special ID cards, will be entitled to book concessional tickets across PRS counters, e-ticket/i-ticket through IRCTC website and also concessional unreserved tickets at UTS counters throughout the country.

Director, Traffic Commercial (Genl.), Railway Board, S.K.Ahirwar issued the new directive to all General Managers of Zonal Railways.

To avail the facility, a physically challenged person will have to approach the nearest DRM office along with all the relevant documents including concession certificate, photo identity proof, date of birth certificate, address proof and two passport photographs, either in person or by post, for the new photo identity card. One self attested photocopied set of all the documents need to be submitted to Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of the Division to apply for the identity card.

Physically Handicapped persons in Tamil Nadu slam Railway’s Circular on Special ID Card

The Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) has come down heavily on a recent Railway Board circular on the issuance of special identity card for e-ticket booking for the disabled.

The circular mandates disabled passengers to procure a separate railway identity card by submitting necessary documents to the respective Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs). The unique ID number would be necessary for disabled passengers to avail concession while booking e-tickets through IRCTC as well as physical tickets through counters.

“The conditions are impractical and would cause enormous hardship to the disabled. As per the conditions, the disabled have to submit applications with Sr Divisional Commercial Managers in the Divisional Railway Manager Offices,” said TARATDAC secretary Namburajan, who is one of the activists who campaigned for e-ticketing facility for the disabled. Currently, the facility of booking e-tickets is available only to those who have procured the special ID cards from Northern Railway. This will soon be extended to all zones.

A majority of disabled passengers live in locations which are far from the office of the DRM, Namburajan said. “A person living in Rameswaram would have to travel 170 km to Madurai city to submit the documents. This is not fair,” he added. Though the circular mentions that the documents can be sent by post also, Namburajan contended that this would still be an added headache to those who may not be aware of the facility.

Railway officials pointed out that without a unique ID, it would not be possible for people to book e-tickets under the disabled quota. However, Namburajan said it was discriminatory in nature. “Senior citizens don’t have to get a separate railway ID card to prove that they are aged above 60. Why should the disabled be discriminated against? We already have a disability certificate,” he reasoned.

Further, the association demanded the circular be withdrawn. It also demanded extension of the procedures that are in practice to senior citizens and children for online booking.