597 disabled-friendly stations with lifts & escalators: Railways

During the calendar year 2023, 128 escalators and 227 lifts were provided, the railways said.

New Delhi: As many as 597 railway stations are now equipped with either escalators or lifts to make them accessible for persons with disabilities, according to the railways.

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These were installed as part of the government’s “Sugamya Bharat Mission” or “Accessible India Campaign”, it said.

Giving a break-up, the railways in the statement said 1,287 escalators at 372 stations and 1,292 lifts at 497 stations were provided till December last year.

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“The Indian Railways is committed to make its railways stations and trains accessible for ‘divyangjans’ as part of the ‘Sugamya Bharat Mission’ or ‘Accessible India Campaign’…,” the national transporter said.

“Improvement/augmentation of amenities, including those for ‘divyangjans’ is a continuous process at railway stations. In order to facilitate easy movement of the elderly, the sick and ‘divyangjans’, and for smooth access to platforms of major railway stations and for ease of movement, lifts/escalators are being provided as part of the ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan’,” it said.

Data provided by the railways shows that till December 2014, there were 143 escalators and 97 lifts available at across stations. Between 2014 and 2023, 1,144 escalators and 1,195 elevators were installed.

During the calendar year 2023, 128 escalators and 227 lifts were provided, the railways said.

However, activists demanded that priority be given to installation of elevators as these are more convenient means of movement than escalators for people with locomotor disabilities.

“The Indian Railways has failed to comprehend that escalators are not suitable means of egress for passengers with locomotor disabilities and senior citizens. Despite our representations, escalators are mistakenly prioritised over elevators,” Dr Satendra Singh, Director Professor at the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS) and Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital, said.

“Unlike metro railways, the persisting gaps and elevations at railway stations make them unfriendly to disabled individuals, despite having lifts at the outskirts,” a differently-abled activist, working with the government, said.

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