Tatanagar (TATA): They look like golf carts and are a blessing for the elderly, the ailing and the physically challenged at major railway stations.
Now, Tatanagar will become Jharkhand’s first station to have battery-operated cars, often called the railway buggy at many places.
The service is likely to start by July-end. “It’s the first such service in Jharkhand and we hope it will help passengers immensely,” said A.K.Agarwal, a spokesperson of Chakradharpur Railway division, under which Tatanagar falls.
“We are working out the modalities to start the battery car service on Tatanagar’s platforms. We will select an NGO to operate and manage the service. A nominal charge will be taken from passengers who book the battery-operated car,” Agarwal said.
Each car will have a sofa at the rear that can seat up to three passengers. It can also carry luggage, but not as much as a trolley can.
According to Agarwal, the battery-operated car can ferry elderly and physically challenged passengers – as well as luggage – from one platform to the other and also go right up the entrance of the station.
Booking will be done from a centrally located place, most likely a kiosk set to come up beside Enquiry. A buggy can be booked by showing the passenger’s ticket. Later, a ramp may be built to enable the battery-operated car reach the auto stand outside for added convenience. Phone numbers for this service are also likely to be advertised prominently.
“Once the car services start, after alighting from a train, a physically challenged or an elderly passenger can actually relax,” he said.
“The battery operated vehicles will immensely help passengers especially the elderly ones,” said Vijay Anand Moonka, a senior functionary of Singhbhum Chamber Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and chairman of the business outfit’s railway committee.
“We have noticed numerous passengers suffering from arthritis and other related diseases face a lot of problems in walking on the platforms to catch trains. The battery operated vehicles prove a boon for such passengers apart from the disabled and elderly ones,” said Moonka.
Chotanagpur Passengers’ Association also welcomed the new passenger-friendly effort.
“We have been demanding this service for quite some time. The railway needs to be very careful in selecting the NGO which can effectively manage and run the service without any hassle,” said Arun Pandey, a senior functionary of the passengers’ outfit.