Bid to make travel free for differently-abled hits roadblock

Delhi University has lately been doing good for the 1,200 students admitted under its quota for people with disabilities.

Their fee has been waived off and those who had already paid are being given refunds. Even the pavements and pathways have been repaired in response to several complaints of injuries. There is even a digital notice board for the visually-challenged. However, the University’s bid to make metro travel free for the differently-abled has hit a roadblock.

“The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has refused to give us blocking service, centralised re-charging service and has also refused to increase the upper limit of a metro card to Rs.2,000,” said Equal Opportunities Cell Officer on Special Duty and scheme in-charge Bipin Tiwary.

“If a visually-challenged student loses his/her metro card comprising a balance of Rs.1,000 and complains about the loss, the Metro should be able to block the card the same way banks usually blocks credit cards following complaints of card loss. The Metro authorities, however, are refusing this small request without giving us any reason,” he said.

Mr. Tiwary added that there were people always ready to take advantage of a differently-abled student and once the scheme is made public, there is no saying how much loss the University will have to sustain because of such unscrupulous elements.

Centralised recharging service and cards of higher denomination are also necessary.

“It will be so much easier for us to recharge all the Metro cards at the same time and if the amount is higher, it will be beneficial for the students. How can someone in a wheelchair run around continuously trying to recharge a Metro card?” said Mr. Tiwary, adding that the scheme was very likely to be a failure if they kept running into roadblocks like this.

“I have been writing to them [the DMRC] and following up over the phone with the Metro authorities for over a month, but they refuse to respond.”

Confirming that it had received the request, the DMRC defended itself.

“The DMRC follows its own set of business rules. Our ticketing system is fully computerised and cannot be changed. However, if the differently-abled require any assistance at the stations, we are happy to provide any special assistance,” said DMRC chief public relations officer Anuj Dayal.

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